The Natural Oil and Gas Suppliers Association of Nigeria (NOGASA) has made an appeal to the federal government, pressing them on the urgency of repairing the deteriorating state of Nigeria’s roads, particularly those severely affected by flooding. NOGASA’s president, Benneth Korie, brought this to light during a media briefing in the country’s capital on Monday.
Korie emphasized that bad roads, compounded by the impact of flooding in numerous regions, have considerably hampered the transportation of gas supplies across the nation. The lamentable state of the roads, he said, has resulted in gas tankers spending excessive time on the roads, leading to significant delays in delivering essential petroleum products to citizens.
“Our drivers are encountering major setbacks due to these terrible road conditions. It’s not uncommon for our drivers to be stuck on the roads for days while attempting to transport products. Our primary request is for the government to prioritize the repair and maintenance of these roads to ensure timely product delivery,” Korie expressed.
Highlighting NOGASA’s commitment, Korie pointed out that the association has already undertaken road rehabilitation initiatives, specifically on the East-West road, in a bid to alleviate some of the transportation challenges.
The NOGASA president also raised concerns over the recent 7.5 per cent Value Added Tax (VAT) imposed on Automotive Gas Oil (AGO), commonly known as diesel. Drawing attention to the increasing transportation costs, Korie explained that the price of diesel, a vital fuel for the trucks transporting petroleum, has surged significantly due to this tax.
“Prior to this tax, diesel cost was around N600, but it has since increased to a range of N920 to N950. Such costs directly affect our economy, particularly in the realms of land and sea transportation,” Korie remarked.
Elaborating on the financial challenges the association faces, he said, “Many of our members have taken loans from banks to facilitate operations, but due to increasing costs, some are struggling to pay back. Immediate intervention from the government is crucial to prevent this situation from escalating.”
Korie also addressed Nigeria’s economic situation, specifically the depreciating value of the naira against the dollar. He underscored that this depreciation has amplified Nigeria’s reliance on importing commodities, including petroleum. He proposed an urgent declaration by the federal government for a state of emergency for all Nigerian refineries. This move, he believes, will fast-track their repair and could help stabilize the naira’s value in the global market.
He reiterated NOGASA’s commitment to supporting governmental efforts, emphasizing the association’s readiness to collaborate and assist in any capacity.
“NOGASA stands prepared to work hand in hand with the government, providing manpower and setting up gas stations across the nation, aiming for excellence in service provision,” Korie affirmed.
Korie touched upon the potential of using funds from the fuel subsidy removal. He suggested the government could invest in buses that run on Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) and traditional fossil fuels. This could potentially lead to fare reductions, benefitting the common citizen without negatively impacting the fossil fuel industry.
He also recommended the revival of the National Gas Expansion Programme Committee, emphasizing its role in fostering connections between CNG equipment vendors and suppliers, and ensuring quality standards.
This appeal by NOGASA underscores the urgency and importance of addressing Nigeria’s infrastructural and economic challenges, particularly in the energy sector.