Truck hijacking, inflation, others crippling our business –NARTO

1 week ago

From Uche Usim, Abuja 

The National President, Nigerian Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO),  Yusuf Othman, has listed several challenges crippling his members’ operations in the economy.

This was as the Federal Government insists on safety of the roads by ensuring that heavy duty and articulated vehicle drivers, are well trained and certified to minimise road accidents.

Speaking at the Association’s 2023 annual general meeting in Abuja, Othman lamented the hijacking of members’ trucks by hoodlums, high foreign exchange (black market rate), bad roads, extortion through multiple taxation, high cost of diesel, and harassment of drivers, among others.

According to him, the operating environment was extremely harsh for for road transporters in 2022, attributing it to the GDP growth year-on-year decline from 4.05 percent in 2021 to 2.25 per cent in 2022.

“The practical implication of the above means there were not enough revenues to be used as fresh capital to replace our aging and dilapidated trucks or even undertake critical maintenance works and payment of overheads.  “Fleet replacements as well as the ability to buy spare parts is a function of one’s capacity to secure foreign exchange. Our members are not considered for allocation of foreign exchange at official rates (N452: $1USD) thus, they must source their FOREX from the parallel market which as at December 2022 was N743: $1USD. 

“In terms of our rising operational cost, we are merely trying to break even. The most important and primary input in our operations is Automotive Gas Oil (AGO) which is the major energy source used by our trucks. Unfortunately, however, the Averaged the major energy source used 5 at November 2022, was N808.87 against N277.89. “Our challenges have been articulated and presented to the National Council on Transportation and we have received strong assurances that our complaints would be attended to”, he explained. Othman called on the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) to consider the high cost of running transport business and review insurance premium downwards by 50per cent  (i.e., from N100,000 to N50,000). He revealed that NARTO was working to sustain its partnership and collaboration with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), to maintain its place as the most preferred transporters of agric inputs and produce throughout the country. “Our priority is also to secure and enter into partnership with the Nigerian Commodities Exchange for the transportation of farmers produce to markets; strengthen our existing partnership and collaboration with the independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) by working hard to discharge our responsibilities of delivering election materials and personnel, in a safe and timely manner, to polling units and collation centers in the 2023 general elections. 

“To engage the Federal Ministry of Transportation and the Nigeria Institute of Transport Technology (NITT) towards the conversion of our heavy-duty trucks from diesel to compressed Natural Gas (CNG) in line with the Federal Government Policy on renewable energy and the protection of the environment from pollution through reduction in carbon emission” he added. 

Earlier in his address, the Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Raji Fashola urged NARTO members to place priority on adequate training of truck drivers to mitigate accidents on the highways. 

He disclosed that in October 2022, 499 Nigerians were lost to fatal accidents and over 2000 injured on roads across the country, attributing the ugly development to reckless driving.

He tasked the body to promote training of their drivers by insisting on certification.

He said:” Roads construction brings businesses for your trucks, employment for a lot of people. By investing in infrastructure,  this government is committed to ensure that you reap your investment on your trucks. 

“We have finished 8,000 kilometers of roads and drivers will tell you that the roads are now better.  The real beneficiaries of the increase on funding on roads are NARTO. I  appeal for safety on our roads”, he said.

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