By Abdulmumin Murtala, Kano

The Association of Distributors and Transporters of Petroleum Products (ADDITOPP) is calling on the Federal Government to create necessary concessions to its operations in order to reduce cost and provide petroleum products at a lesser retail rate.

The call was made by the Association’s Consultant Dr Morris Ibe on Tuesday in Kano after a sensitization meeting of its members.

Speaking to newsmen, Ibe explained that they were at Kano to push a united agenda for what benefits the members and provide the products at affordable rates.

Following the recent conversion of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to a Limited liability by President Muhammadu Buhari, the association says it is necessary for the transporters to adapt to it particularly as regards their bridging claims and how to reduce expenses that goes around their business operation which will subsequently reduce the retail and pump price.

Some of the issues they identified at the sensitization meeting include among others, how to procure hard currency from the Central Bank of Nigeria for maintenance and purchase of trucks as well as converting their trucks from using diesel, which is expensive, to using natural gas which is cheaper as it is locally made.

“The issue of foreign currency comes about as we are exploring ways to reduce the cost of operation and others.

“These trucks are acquired abroad, from Europe, Asia and America, that’s where they buy their trucks. The tires and most of the maintenance products, the lubricants are bought abroad, non of these things are manufactured locally. So what we are trying to do to achieved that is seeing a way the Central Bank of Nigeria can give our members, even if is not concessionary rates on foreign currencies, but reasonable allocation of foreign currency to them to enable them buy, replace their trucks, replace truck parts, their tires, lubricants, without having to break their back and having to go to the black market to buy Dollars at outrageous prices. These affect the cost of their operations.

“Secondly, the issue of converting their trucks from using diesel to natural gas is also geared towards reducing the cost of operation.

“Like you heard, the cost of picking up a product from Lagos to Kano per truck is about N1.2 million. We are saying that from the analysis that is being presented to us, that if these trucks are converted to natural gas, instead of N1.2 million, you will be looking at about N200,000 to N300,000 per truck. So is worth looking at, is worth pushing further.

“We also say that the government should come in and help our members in conversion of these trucks, which is about N10m per truck to convert it from using diesel to using natural gas. We have some of our members with a hundred, two hundred or even five hundred trucks and some times more.

“That will be an outrageous amount of cost for a transporter to bear. So we are saying we need to approach the federal government to see how they can create a concession to that” the Consultant of ADDITOPP stated.

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