GOODWILL MESSAGE DELIVERED BY ALHAJI (DR) KASSIM IBRAHIM BATAIYA (DURBIN ALBASU), NATIONAL PRESIDENT OF THE NIGERIAN ASSOCIATION OF ROAD TRANSPORT OWNERS (NARTO) ON THE FORMAL COMMISSIONING OF NNPC RETAIL MEGA STATION AT SHAGAMU, OGUN STATE ON THURSDAY 30TH NOVEMBER, 2017
It is my great honor and privilege to be invited to the formal commissioning of the NNPC Retail Mega Station in Shagamu, Ogun State. This is yet another giant stride in the efforts of the Group Managing Director (GMD) of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) Dr. Maikanti Kachalla Baru to make petroleum products available in all nooks and crannies of this great country and end the incessant petroleum product shortages experienced, particularly during festivals. Only recently Sir, you were at Kano and Apata to commission the newly rehabilitated NNPC Depots and to initiate series of programs aimed at fixing our vandalized oil pipelines in order to connect all the existing NNPC Depots with the supply source just for the same reason. Little wonder why the Executive Governor of Oyo State, H.E. Chief Abiola Ajimobi called you an achiever, actualizer and performer. I cannot agree any less! We understand some people are not happy with these achievements and successes, and would go to any extent to rubbish and truncate them. However, be rest assured that NARTO as a body and all people of good conscience who desire the progress of the industry in particular and the Nigerian economy in general are solidly behind you.
The GMD Sir, please permit me to, on behalf of all NNPC Retail Transporters, express our profound gratitude and appreciation for embarking on this project for the common good of all, and for the unique opportunity it will serve to our members by way of increased patronage of their trucks in running the operations of the new retail station.
We recall that the first NNPC Retail Mega Station commenced operation in August 2002 in Lagos. Some of the main reasons for forming the company were to serve as:
Vehicle for intervention in the market during periods of emergencies and avoidable supply disruptions;
A Benchmark for key players in the distribution chain and ensure safe, orderly and profitable retailing of products in the country;
A Vehicle to achieve NNPC’s world vision by integrating its up-stream and down-stream business in a similar manner to other national and international oil companies.
In furtherance of the above objectives, today the NNPC has grown its size and operations as follows:
37 mega Stations;
12 Floating Stations; and
500 Affiliate Stations.
While congratulating you and the NNPC Retail Management for this feat, we acknowledge the contributions of your transporters who defied all manner of obstacles to move the products from the various loading points to your retail stations and, thus making stay in the in the business. Although, initially the system at NNPC Retail was bedeviled by product diversion by unscrupulous transporters with active connivance of the company’s staff; lack of accountability, corruption, favoritism, tribalism; and financial leakages through unnecessary bureaucratic bottlenecks, the synergy with NARTO, through the NNPC Retail/NARTO Consultative Committee set up by NNPC Retail Management, has brought in renewed hope and operational sanity in the business of the company. With the intervention of NARTO in the selection, discipline and decision making process in the supply and distribution channel of the organization, transporters have become business partners rather than saboteurs. The overall achievement was a collective effort of the leadership of the organization but more importantly that of the transporters who take the largest portion of the risk involved by delivering products on locations despite the bad roads infrastructure and insecurity, particularly insurgency in the North-East geo-political zone and Kidnapping and armed robbery in the Niger Delta region.
GMD Sir, in our efforts to ensure smooth, successful, efficient and effective services to your organization, transporters have invested a lot of money for the procurement, servicing and replacement of trucks despite the high cost of foreign exchange without any tangible support or palliatives from the government. Custom Duty on imported vehicles has gone as high as 35% compared to 5% duty paid by local auto manufacturers who barely meet only about 7% of the nation’s truck requirement. The combined effect of these is high operating cost for the transporter which cannot be covered even by the approved freight rate.
In view of the aforementioned reasons, may I respectfully pray as follows:
1. NNPC Retail, under your leadership should procure additional 500 units of trucks to augment the existing number of trucks in the system. China parades some good auto manufacturing companies such as Howo, Schackman and JAC trucks. NARTO and PTD leadership where in China recently to inspect the products of these companies. We believe that the trucks will meet the Nigerian environmental conditions and quality requirements. These can then be released to identified performing transporters with a view to enhancing their operations.
2. Quick and urgent reconciliation of accounts and payment to transporters’ arrears before the end of the year.
3. Ensure regular supply of AGO to their transporters under strict supervision of NARTO for transparency and accountability.
4. The NNPC Retail Management should maintain the agreed 14 days freight bill settlement.
5. Henceforth the NNPC Retail Management should endeavor to demurrage to transporters where a clear case of delay in discharging products at stations is established in line with industry practice.
6. To uphold the NNPC Retail/NARTO Consultative Committee which was established by the two parties to foster unity and integration as well as addressing all issues which if left unattended may eventually lead to disruption of services and/or cause unnecessary industrial dispute.
Once again, I thank the GMD and NNPC Retail Management for providing this facility which, apart from making products available to the people and ending scarcity, will also provide employment opportunities for the people of this area, and expand our business operations. On behalf of the entire NARTO members please accept our hearty congratulations, Sir.
ALHAJI (DR) KASSIM I. BATAIYA