By Emeka Anaeto, Business Editor
THE Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, has debunked the insinuation in the media that the recent increase in the bridging allowance to transporters from N6.20 to N7.20 was made preparatory to jacking up the pump price of petrol.
In a statement today in Abuja, the Corporation’s Group General Manager, Public Affairs, Mr. Ndu Ughammadu, said, rather than increase the pump price the N1.0 increase in transporters’ allowance would be absorbed in the existing pricing template to maintain existing pump price ceiling.
It stated: “NNPC wishes to assure consumers of Premium Motor Spirit, PMS, otherwise known as petrol that the review of bridging cost would not lead to increase in the price of the white product.
“The review of the bridging allowance which enjoyed the blessing of the Honourable Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, would be absorbed in the existing products import template.”
Ughammadu, in the statement, noted that the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, NUPENG, had suspended its nationwide strike April 3, 2017 following the timely intervention of the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Dr. Maikanti Baru.
Baru’s intervention, he explained, had nipped in the bud, logjam from the faceoff between the National Association of Road Transport Owners, NARTO, and Petroleum Tanker Drivers, PTD, over cost of doing business, among others.
Bridging Cost refers to the cost element built into products template to ensure an even price for white products in all parts of the country.
Announcing the increase in allowance at the end of the meeting on Monday, Baru had stated: “We understand the difficulty of NARTO to go into negotiations with PTD which has to do with the level of bridging allowance. I am happy to announce that the Honourable Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, has given his approval to increase the bridging allowance from N6.20 to N7.20.”
He said the review should give NARTO the breathing space to engage with PTD to immediately discuss and resolve as many of the issues as possible, adding that the gesture, was expected to normalize relations between the unions.
In attendance at the meeting where the challenges were resolved were the NUPENG National President, Comrade Igwe Achese, who announced the suspension of the strike by NUPENG, the National President of PTD, Comrade Salimon Akanni Oladiti, his NARTO counterpart, Alh. Kassim Ibrahim Bataiya, and Chairman of House of Representatives Committee on Downstream, Honourable Joseph Akinlaja.