An official noted that flooding has ravaged many parts of the highways, causing delays for gas suppliers.
The Natural Oil and Gas Suppliers Association of Nigeria (NOGASA) on Monday urged the Nigerian government to fix bad roads and encourage private and modular refineries to foster the affordability of petroleum products in the country.
Benneth Korie, the NOGASA president, disclosed this at a press briefing in Abuja on Monday.
According to him, petroleum tankers spent days on the road transporting products due to bad roads, just as flooding has ravaged many parts of Nigeria’s highways, causing more delays.
“Flooding has ravaged many parts of the highways, causing more delays for our drivers. The roads are bad, and this has often made the drivers spend days on the road when transporting products, so all we want is for the government to help fix these roads to avoid more delays in product transportation,” he said.
While calling for quick intervention, Mr Korie noted that to facilitate mobility, his association had spent some amount of money on rehabilitating some sections of the East-West road to aid the transportation of petroleum products.
He also called on the government to suspend the recently introduced 7.5 per cent Value Added Tax imposed on Automotive Gas Oil (AGO), known as diesel, to reduce the cost of transporting petroleum products.
He explained that most of the trucks which convey petroleum from depots to stations are powered by diesel.
“Because of the VAT that the government has imposed on diesel, today as we speak, diesel is going from between N920 to N950. Diesel was like N600 before the tax,” he said.
According to him, the AGO was important in building the nation’s economy, and the rising cost of the product would drastically affect transportation on land and sea.
Since deregulation is now in the pipeline, he said the government should reduce taxes on imported products to give suppliers and consumers a palatable platform.
“We are suffering too much. We are losing money on a daily basis. That is what we do. We borrowed money from the banks, and some of us cannot pay again.
“We are in trouble. So there is a need for the government to come into this matter urgently; otherwise, we will have a problem,” he added.
He condemned the fall in naira to the dollar in the exchange rate, saying this has contributed to Nigeria’s dependence on importing petroleum and other commodities.
However, he urged the federal government to urgently declare a state of emergency on all Nigerian refineries to hasten repairs and improve the naira value in the foreign exchange market.
Mr Korie reiterated the association’s readiness to partner with the government in terms of providing manpower and gas stations nationwide to achieve desired targets.
“NOGASA is ready to collaborate with the government anytime it is called upon and will deliver every assignment within its ambit of power,” Mr Korie said.
“From the large sum of money realised from fuel subsidy removal, the government could provide buses that use CNG and normal fossil oil, for fare reduction in order not to kill investments in the fossil oil business.
“The National Gas Expansion Programme Committee should be called back to continue their good work of bringing sellers and suppliers of CNG equipment together and boost quality assurance,” he said.