21 December 2017, Sweetcrude, Abuja — The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, Thursday, stated that the National Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO) and Petroleum Tanker Drivers (PTD) have thrown their weights behind its efforts to address the hiccups being experienced in the supply and distribution of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), otherwise called petrol, in parts of the country.
The NNPC, in a statement in Abuja, said the pledge was made in Abuja by NARTO National President, Mr. Kassim Bataiya and the PTD National Chairman, Comrade Salimon Oladiti, during a meeting of stakeholders on the challenges of products supply and distribution led by the Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Petroleum Resources Downstream, Honourable Joseph Akinlaja.
The duo said their focus was to put an end to the current hardship being experienced by Nigerians at fuel stations across the country in the best interest of the nation.
“We are transporters and we know how many litres we have been moving across the country. If anybody is found guilty of moving products out of this country or to any unauthorized locations within, even if they are our members, we would not only disown them but also exposed them,” Bataiya declared.
While commending the efforts of the NNPC in making products available to Nigerians, the NARTO National President gave the assurance that its union members would make available trucks to deliver products to any designations at any given time.
He said “We are here to express our solidarity with the NNPC and to also pledge our continuous support to the GMD for working hard to restore normalcy to the supply of products across the country. We have alluded to the fact that the NNPC under Baru has been doing very well in discharging its fiduciary responsibilities.”
The NARTO National President frowned at a situation whereby only the NNPC was importing petroleum products and called on the Federal Government to encourage marketers to complement the corporation’s efforts.
On his part, PTD National Chairman, Comrade Salimon Oladiti, condemned the activities of some unpatriotic citizens who are involved in smuggling products out of the country thus subjecting Nigerians to the current hardship being experienced nationwide.
He called on all stakeholders to join hands in addressing the issues of tanker hijacking, vandalism, and smuggling, amongst others.
Comrade Oladiti gave the assurance that tanker drivers would work round the clock amidst the upcoming Christmas holiday to ensure that the problem of products scarcity was fully addressed.
“We will give this government total support, especially the GMD of NNPC who took the pain of reviving the NNPC’s depots across the country. In fact, our members are happy with him and have declared their total support for him on all his positive initiatives,” Oladiti said.
On his part, Honourable Joseph Akinlaja, Chairman, House of Representatives Committee, Downstream, who led the unions to the NNPC, expressed confidence with the outcome of the meeting, adding that with the commitment of critical stakeholders like NARTO and PTD, the end to the problem being experienced in products distribution is very much on sight.
“In the supply and distribution of petroleum products, NARTO and PTD are very critical stakeholders and they have declared their commitment to work with the NNPC. They pledged to mobilise to the field and by this, within the next few days, this problem will fizzle out,” Akinlaja said.
On the allegation of products diversion, he stated that the House of Representatives would investigate the issue and come up with workable solutions.
In his remarks, the NNPC Group Managing Director, Dr. Maikanti Baru, commended the support of critical stakeholders like the House of Representatives, NARTO, and PTD in addressing the challenges of products supply nationwide.
He stated that the NNPC would partner with relevant stakeholders to address the issues raised at the meeting, including collaboration with security agencies as well as state governments to secure befitting parking spaces for tankers at designated places.
Baru noted that because of NNPC’s avowed commitment to transparency, the corporation has commenced the automation of loading pumps in all its depots nationwide.
He said that the corporation was increasing the volume of products distributed to the market and would not relent until the problem is over, adding that NNPC would import at least one billion litres of petrol by the end of December.
He condemned the action of some unscrupulous elements involved in products diversion, stating that sometimes in October this year, there was an incident of products diversion of 145 million litres of petrol in which the depot owner claimed to have loaded the product on a day that there was no loading schedule.
The Chairman of NNPC War Room on Products supply and Distribution, Dr. Babatunde Adeniran, who is the Corporation’s Chief Operating Officer, Ventures, stated that products diversion was a major challenge that must be fought by all and sundry, lamenting a situation where eight trucks were sent to Bauchi State and none of them delivered products at the location.
He said that the situation required the support of all stakeholders, adding that there was the need to checkmate some excesses within the country and at the nation’s borders.
NNPC Chief Operating Officer (COO) Downstream, Mr. Henry Ikem Obi, said his Directorate would always cooperate with NARTO and PTD to ensure the free flow of products in the Country.