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Fuel scarcity may ease this weekend as NARTO suspends strike

By The Rainbow
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Hope is high that the gripping fuel scarcity arising from the strike action embarked upon by the National Association of Road Transport Owners Will soon peter out.

This followed an agreement reached by the Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria NARTO to suspend their strike.

Fuel scarcity has crippled activities in major cities in the country, with less than 20 per cent of petrol filling stations dispensing petroleum products.

Most of the few stations were also rationing the product, with some not dispensing more than N2000 worth of products to motorists.

Our correspondent learnt that some stations created more channels to dispense to people buying in contains, which offers them greater leverage for rent taking.

As at Friday, black marketeers were having a field day, with a litre selling for as much as N300 as against the official price of N87 per litre.

MOMAN Executive Secretary, Femi Olawore, who spoke with journalists on the ongoing the fuel scarcity, blamed it all on the inability of the Federal Government to offset outstanding fuel subsidy arrears.

Olawore explained that the marketers are owing members of the transport association about N20 billion and their inability to offset the debt prompted the suspension of the lifting of products.

According to him,  following the release of N156 billion to marketers by the Federal Government as part payment of the subsidy, they had in turn offset part of the debt they owed the transporters.

Olawore said government had yet to redeem N200 billion it is owing the marketers as subsidy payment. He said the the marketers, with the understanding of NARTO members, had given government a grace of two weeks to settle the remaining payments.

“We have scheduled to meet with the Coordinating Minister of the Economy on Monday, but if the meeting fails to address the issue we have tabled, then we will continue with the action,” he warned.

The secretary said their members have started receiving payment and that marketers will pay NARTO in proportion of what has been received.

Olawore said the marketers were ready to cooperate with the government but warned that unless the payment was made in two weeks, the marketers would return to their action.

observers believe that the recent actions of MOMAN , NARTO to give maximum pressure of government on the outstanding subsidy was to avoid the issue being carried over to incoming administration, whom they fear might not give priority to their claims.

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