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Tanker drivers threaten to stop petrol lifting Monday

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Nigeria may witness another round of fuel scarcity as the Nigerian Association of Road Transport Owners, on Thursday, vowed to stop lifting petroleum products beginning from next week Monday due to the high cost of operations.

NARTO members have repeatedly raised concern over the high cost of diesel required to power their trucks for the transportation of petroleum products across the country.

Oil marketers told our correspondent on Thursday that diesel price is between N1,250 to N1,400/litre depending on the area of purchase.

NARTO’s President, Yusuf Othman, in a statement he issued in Abuja on Thursday, said the statement was an official announcement from the association’s headquarters that members of the group would park their trucks from Monday.

“Why? It is because what we spend on operations is more than what we get in total, both in local and bridging,” he stated.

Othman said NARTO members had being operating at a loss and it was no longer sustainable for them to endure the losses.

“We will have to suspend operations latest from now till on Monday. We cannot continue to operate at a loss. Most people have parked. A lot more are going to park. But from the point of the association itself, we are going to suspend operations on Monday,” he stated.

He said NARTO’s efforts to get the intervention of key stakeholders, the Federal Government and industry operators had not yielded positive results.

The NARTO president said the association had written letters on the unbearable cost of operations to the Chief of Staff to President Bola Tinubu; Minister of Petroleum Resources; Department of State Services; Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Regulatory Authority; Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited; and oil marketers.

“We have written letters up to the level of the Chief of Staff to the President. We have written to the Minister of Petroleum Resources (Oil). We have written to the Director-General of SSS. We have written to NNPC’s boss. We have written to the NMDPRA. We have written to the major marketers,” Othman stated.

He stressed that despite the letters, there has been “no response.”

Analysing the market situation, which the members have endured for several months, he stated that the same freight rate that applied when former President Muhammadu Buhari was in ruling, was still subsisting.

“The Lagos to Abuja freight rate that was implemented when the dollar was N650 is still retained now that dollar is N1,615. Everybody is aware that all our consumables in terms of operation are not produced in the country.

“So, by virtue of the rate of dollars, every consumables has increased. But the freight they are paying us has been the same since Buhari’s time. So how is that feasible? During Buhari’s time, one dollar was N650. Today, dollar is N1,615. The average freight from Lagos to Abuja is N32,” he stated.

Othman further explained that “what I mean by local is that when you load in Lagos, you discharge in Lagos. And bridging means that when you load from Lagos, you come to Abuja. Lagos to Lagos, we are paid N120,000.

“AGO (diesel) alone to distribute fuel within Lagos is N140,000 because it is N1,400/litre. So, they give you N120,000 and you spend N140,000. So how do you want to operate? You’ve not talked about the cost of vehicles, cost of loading, driver’s allowance. That is for local.”

He stated that the cost of moving products out of Lagos or Warri to other states was far higher than what the government was paying to tanker drivers as bridging claims.

The government pays an agreed sum to transporters of petroleum products as bridging claims in order to ensure equality in the pump prices of these products across states, though this has not been the case.

NARTO is the umbrella organisation for commercial vehicle owners in Nigeria. The association represents the interests of those involved in haulage of petroleum products, general cargoes and passenger movement within the country and the West African sub-region.

NARTO has expressed several concerns regarding transporting petroleum products in Nigeria, impacting both their members and the overall efficiency of the process.

It has complained of poor road conditions, as frequent potholes, dilapidated bridges, and lack of proper maintenance lead to increased wear and tear on vehicles, higher running costs and longer journey times.

The association has also raised concern about traffic congestion, particularly around ports and depots, as this adds significantly to delivery delays and further increases operational costs.

On inadequate parking facilities, NARTO had stated that the lack of safe and designated parking areas often forced drivers to park in unsafe locations, leading to security risks and fatigue.

It had also raised concerns about the multiple checkpoints in Nigeria, as numerous security checkpoints could cause unnecessary delays and harassment for drivers.

Another issue is delayed payments, as late payments from oil marketers create cash flow problems for transporters.

Also the association has called for safety, because the theft of petroleum products, pipeline vandalism and other security threats create risks for drivers and equipment.

On policy and regulatory concerns, NARTO had observed that some depots limit access to specific transporters, impacting competition and efficiency.

It had stated that inconsistent or ambiguous regulations could lead to confusion and enforcement challenges, adding that transporters often struggled to access affordable financing for vehicle maintenance and upgrades.

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Electricity Tariff: Speaker Abbas Says Increase Must Be Fair, Equitable, Beneficial To Citizens

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By Gloria Ikibah 
 
 
 
Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rep. Tajudeen Abbas, has said that any adjustments made in the electricity tariffs must be fair, equitable and beneficial to all the stakeholders. 
 
 
The Speaker stated this at a special public hearing on the increase in electricity tarrifs organized by the joint House committees on power, commerce, national planning and delegated legislation on Tuesday in Abuja. 
 
 
Naijablitznews.com recalled that the Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) recently increased electricity tariff, a development which sparked great displeasure and attracted strong opposition from different groups across the country.
 
 
Speaker Abbas who was represented by the deputy speaker, Rep. Benjamin Kalu, said the public hearing was to ultimately examine all issues of concern with a view to proffering solutions. 
 
 
He said: “The fears expressed by many are valid – that such a sharp increase in electricity tariffs will only exacerbate the economic hardships already faced by our people. There are genuine concerns that higher utility bills resulting from this tariff hike could have a ripple effect on operational costs for businesses, potentially leading to increased prices for goods and services
 
 
“Electricity as we know, is not just a commodity; it is a lifeline for many households and businesses across our nation. Any significant rise in tariff could have far-reaching consequences for our economy and the livelihoods of our people. Therefore, it is essential that we carefully assess all factors before making any decisions that may affect the affordability and accessibility of electricity for our citizens. It is imperative that we engage in constructive dialogue to address these issues and ensure that any adjustments made are fair, transparent, and ultimately beneficial to all parties involved.
 
 
“It is in the light of the foregoing that the House convened this public hearing. As representatives of the Nigerian people, it is our duty to carefully consider the implications of such policies on our constituents’well-being and livelihoods. 
 
 
“Our goal is to ensure that any adjustments made to electricity tariffs are fair, equitable, and ultimately beneficial to all stakeholders involved.
 
 
“We must strive to strike a balance that safeguards the interests of consumers while also enabling sustainable growth and development within the energy sector.”
 
 
He assured that the House will continue to work with the executive arm of government, even as he urged the stakeholders to make valuable submissions that will help the parliament make an informed decision on the issue. 
 
 
“I urge all stakeholders present here today to engage in constructive dialogue and provide valuable insights that will guide us in finding a balanced solution to this pressing issue. Let us work together towards ensuring that electricity remains affordable for all Nigerians while also aupporting the growth and stability of our energy sector. Let us use this public hearing as an opportunity to listen to all stakeholders,understand their perspectives, and work towards finding a sustainable and equitable resolution to this pressing issue. 
 
 
“I want to emphasize our commitment to working closely with the executive to transform the Nigerian power sector into a model of efficiency and sustainability as outlined in our Legislative Agenda. We are dedicated to providing legislative support to the efforts of President Ahmed Bola Tinubu’s Administration in reforming the power sector by addressing all legal and legislative impediments accordingly”, he added. 
 
 
Speaker Abbas however expressed displeasure at the failure of the leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) to honour the invitation of the committees to make their respective presentations. 
 
 
He urged them to submit their memoranda to the secretariat of the committees, saying that positive results can only be made when all the stakeholders come into a partnership.
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Democracy Day: Senator Dafinone Felicitates Tinubu, Deltans, Nigerians, Calls For Unity

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By Kayode Sanni-Arewa

The Senator representing Delta Central Senatorial District, Senator Ede Dafinone has called on Nigerians to take time out as the country marks 25 years of unbroken democratic rule to remember sacrifices of those who fought valiantly for the democracy we now enjoy.

The renowned accountant, now a lawmaker while congratulating President Bola Tinubu, the people of Delta Central and Nigerians in a signed statement, noted that Nigeria’s 25 years of unbroken democratic rule is a testament to the resilience, dedication, and unwavering commitment of the Nigerian people to the principles of democracy and freedom.

The Delta Central lawmaker also called on Nigerians to embrace unity, love, and respect for one another and to deepen their engagement in participatory democracy, and to guard against antidemocratic tendencies and ensure that our democratic values and culture are firmly entrenched at all levels of society.

Senator Dafinone’s media release titled: “Celebrating 25 Years of Unbroken Democratic Rule in Nigeria,” reads.

“I extend my heartfelt congratulations to President Bola Ahmed Tinubu and to all Nigerians as our beloved country commemorate 25 years of unbroken democratic rule. This significant milestone is a testament to the resilience, dedication, and unwavering commitment of the Nigerian people to the principles of democracy and freedom.

“As we celebrate this historic day, let us remember the sacrifices of those who fought valiantly for the democracy we now enjoy. June 12th is not just a date; it symbolizes our collective struggle for justice, equity, and the rule of law. It is a reminder of the power of the people’s voice and the strength of our democratic institutions.

“I urge every Nigerian to embrace unity, love, and respect for one another. In our diversity lies our strength, and it is only through mutual understanding and cooperation that we can achieve the greatness we aspire to as a nation. Let us set aside our differences and work together towards a common goal: a peaceful, prosperous, and democratic Nigeria.

“Furthermore, I call on all citizens to deepen their engagement in participatory democracy. It is our collective responsibility to guard against antidemocratic tendencies and ensure that our democratic values and culture are firmly entrenched at all levels of society. Let us hold our leaders accountable, participate actively in the democratic process, and foster an environment where every Nigerian feel valued and heard.

“As we celebrate this momentous occasion, let us renew our commitment to building a Nigeria where democracy thrives, where every citizen enjoys their fundamental rights, and where the future is bright for generations to come.

“Once again, congratulations to President Bola Tinubu, the Urhobo Nation and to all Nigerians. Together, let us continue to strive for a more united and democratic nation.

“God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”

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Senegal Joins Oil-Producing Countries In West Africa, Produces Oil For The First Time

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By Kayode Sanni-Arewa

Senegal has become one of West Africa’s oil producing countries as the country started producing oil for the first time on Tuesday.

As President Bassirou Diomaye Faye promised that profits from the sale of the country’s oil and gas would be “well managed”, Australian energy giant Woodside described the oil production in Senegal as a “historic day” and a “key milestone” for the company and the country.

BBC reports that the Sangomar deep-water project, which also has gas, aims to produce 100,000 barrels of oil per day.

It is expected to generate billions of dollars for Senegal and boost the country’s economy.

The general manager of the national oil company Petrosen, Thierno Ly, said that the country had entered a “new era” when production began on Tuesday.

Ly was quoted as saying, “We have never been so well positioned for opportunities for growth, innovation and success in the economic and social development of our nation.”

It was reported that Petrosen has an 18% stake in the project while Woodside owns the remainder.

Elected in April this year, President Faye has been keen on renegotiating the deal as part of reforms he promised during the election campaign.

The President, while speaking to students on Tuesday, said that the earnings from the oil and gas production would be “well managed”, and that an “inter-generation fund” had been set up for the benefit of “your generation and those to come.”

The country’s move to renegotiate oil and gas contracts has been seen by some analysts as making investors jittery, but government supporters have reportedly said that it is vital for the West African state to increase its stake in projects so that the nation benefits from its natural resources.

A former opposition politician, Prime Minister Ousmane Sonko, who was a key figure in the president’s election campaign, recently insisted that contracts signed by previous administrations were ”unfavourable” to the country, and would be reviewed.

Sonko was quoted as saying on Tuesday, “We’re the ones who promised you we’d renegotiate the contracts, and we’re going to do it. We’ve started already.

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