From Uche Usim, Abuja
The Nigerian Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO) is smarting from huge debts owed by the Petroleum Equalisation Fund (PEF) and the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) that were formally scrapped by the Federal Government on Tuesday in response to the demands of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA).
NARTO National President Yusuf Lawal Othman said that members of the association were in the dark as their relationship with the new organisations (the Nigerian Upstream Regulatory Commission and the Nigerian Downstream and Midstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority) has not clearly spelt out how the important matter will be addressed.
According to him, the organisation needs to know its fate so that it could inform the members on how to plan and adjust to stark realities.
He urged the government to be proactive and invite the association for a meeting on the agenda instead of waiting for a strike threat.
The NARTO boss pledged to operationally support the new law (PIA) and the newly-appointed Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Regulatory Agency’s Chief Executive Officer, Engr Farouk Ahmed, and that of the Upstream Regulatory Commission, Engr Gbenga Komolafe.
‘First of all, we congratulate the government on the passage of the PIA. We also congratulate the new agencies.
‘However, we want to know our fate as regards our liabilities with the PPPRA and PEF as regards also going forward,’ he said.
‘We want to know our fate. We are not averse to the government. We are not against it but we are in the dark.
‘Now that the government said it has scrapped the DPR, PPPRA and PEF, we need to be briefed officially on the status of our operations now.
‘What is the status of our outstanding money with PEF and what is the fate of our current operation?’
According to him, NARTO is a critical stakeholder that hauls petroleum products across the country.
He noted that it operates on credit, which resulted in the outstanding debt that the scrapped agencies owe its members of the association.
Othman said: ‘This is because as it is today, we haul across the country on credit and later be reimbursed.
‘Now that they have scrapped PEF, what is the fate of our cooperation and our outstanding money that we have to be informed going forward so that we can tell our members and plan ahead.
‘You don’t just scrap it (PEF) and keep quiet. Let’s be informed about our fate and the liabilities of the PEF because we are part of the liability.
‘We want to know what it is because we are critical stakeholders as far as DPR, PEF and PPPRA are concerned. It is not just scrapping them, when you scrap them what happens to the operation that these organs do? “Are they going to be absorbed by the new entities? If they are not, what happens to us? We need to know. The government needs to be proactive.
‘It is not that it is until we want to threaten the government. They need to be proactive. The new entities that have come in need to invite us,’ he stated.