Strike action in the upstream of oil and gas sector is often characterized by fuel scarcity.

It is very likely that the Federal Capital Territory may soon experience a fresh round of fuel scarcity, as it was gathered that tanker drivers have declined to take products to the territory due to bad road network and high diesel prices.

According to The Punch, sources with the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) and Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association of Nigeria (DAPPMAN), disclosed this on Tuesday.

They stated that though there were enough products as promised by the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited, members of the National Association of Road Transport Operators were not ready to take products to the capital city.

It was also gathered that members of NARTO had lost nothing less than seven tankers, including products as a result of the bad road network to Abuja.

“As of Tuesday, marketers were ready to pay as much as N1.2m to take products to Abuja, but no driver was ready to put their lives and tankers on the line. There is enough product but drivers are unwilling to go there,” a source with DAPPMAN told The PUNCH.

The marketers also decried the rising costs of freight rates.

“When price of petrol was increased last month, the dollar was between N600 to N620, but it is now N700. Cost of hiring a vessel is now $50,000 per day, including NNPC trucks. It costs more than $50,000 per day to take products to states like Calabar, and we still pay for vessels in dollars”, the DAPPMAN source added.

A source with IPMAN corroborated what the DAPMAN member said, stressing that tanker drivers were unwilling to take products from Warri to Abuja due to bad roads.

The Executive Secretary, National Association of Road Transport Operators, Aloga Ignatius, declined commenting on the development when contacted.

“I’m in a meeting. Can’t talk,” he said, directing our correspondent to send text which was not responded to as at the time of filing this report.

A professor of Economics and Public Policy at the University of Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, Akpan Ekpo, called on the Federal Government to use trains instead of tankers as new means of transporting petroleum products across the country.

He said, “If the drivers’ refusal to take products to Abuja persists, it will cause hoarding and then scarcity, which will lead to high prices. This news is definitely not good for the economy because it will affect our GDP, and increase inflation.

“Nigeria should adopt the method of moving petrol through trains. Moving products through tankers is old fashioned. And again, the roads should be repaired as soon as possible,” he said.

The development comes on the heels of recent scarcity in the FCT which stretched from February up until July.

The months of scarcity had led to an eventual increase in prices of petrol from N165 per litre, to between N179 to N190 per litre.

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