The National Association of Road Transport Owners on Thursday raised the alarm that the cost of diesel was becoming unaffordable for the transportation of Premium Motor Spirit, popularly called petrol, using tankers.
In his address at the Annual General Meeting of the association, the National President, NARTO, Yusuf Othman, told stakeholders in the downstream oil sector that the price of diesel was becoming increasingly unbearable for road transport owners.
Global crude oil prices had been rising since the beginning of the war in Ukraine by Russia about two weeks.
The price of Brent crude had risen to over $130/barrel, pushing up the cost of refined deregulated petroleum products such as diesel and aviation fuel in Nigeria.
Othman commended the Federal Government for increasing the freight rate as requested by transporters, but expressed regrets that the price of diesel had compounded the cost of operations NARTO members.
He said, “As at today, the price of diesel is impacting negatively on our business, and not only our business but almost on all activities in Nigeria. This is because fuel is imported into our country and it is usually at the international price.
“Everybody knows that the international price is affected by the current war in Ukraine and Russia. So, of course, because we import it, it is really very costly.
“We appreciate the effort of the government for this (freight rate) increase, but at the same time, the fact is that the increase could not be noticed because of the higher cost of diesel.
Othman added, “If this (diesel price) continues to go up, we will have no option than to go back to government.”
The Executive Secretary, Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria, Clement Isong, who made a virtual presentation at the AGM, said ongoing war in Eastern Europe had complicated the volatility in the oil industry in Nigeria.
He said marketers had yet to come out of the unpleasant development of the contaminated fuel that was imported into Nigeria few months ago, coupled with high foreign exchange rate.
Meanwhile, Othman appealed to the Federal Government through the Federal Minister of Works and Housing to fulfill its pledge in the repair of federal roads across the country.
He said the bad roads in Nigeria were responsible for fatal accidents and “have continued to be a stumbling block towards the safe and efficient movement of goods, services and passengers across the country.”