The Nigerian Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO) has lifted its industrial action following a two-day dialogue with the federal government, facilitated by the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources (Oil), Heineken Lokpobiri. Yusuf Lawal Othman, the national president of NARTO, confirmed the suspension of the strike in Abuja on Tuesday and also announced an increase in the freight rate for Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) from N32.

The meeting, convened by Lokpboribi, included key stakeholders in the downstream sector such as the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA), representatives of the Major Energy Marketers Association of Nigeria (MEMAN), Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), and others.

Transporters initiated the strike on Monday, citing the challenges of continuing business within the current economic situation in the country. Othman stated that the marketers were still calculating the exact figure for the new freight rate, but the association would direct its members to resume the lifting of petrol immediately.

Othman said, “I would like to confirm that we have reached some meeting point with the marketers. They have provided additional increases to our present freight rate. But there is room for improvement. At this point, we have agreed to suspend the withdrawal of operations. We will commence operations immediately.”

Minister Lokpobiri announced the suspension of the strike, attributing it to the consultations with stakeholders. He assured that the government had begun the payment of outstanding bridging claims and pledged to complete the payments by mid-March.

Lokpobiri stated, “We have started paying some bridging claims. As we get more money, we will continue to pay. By the middle of next month, we would have been done with the payment. We asked those that are owing to pay us so that members, who are supplying products across the country will be able to do that.”

The NMDPRA boss, Ahmed, confirmed the increase in the freight rate due to rising costs of fueling trucks and diesel. He explained that the NARTO requested the increase, and after engaging with the marketers they service, an agreement on the freight increase was reached, leading to the suspension of the strike.

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