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Review road policies to curtail insecurity, infrastructure decay – NARTO begs FG

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The National President of the Nigerian Association of Road Transport Owners, NARTO, Yusuf Lawal Othman has called for the review of road policies to curtail insecurity.

He said the current policies governing road infrastructure and its uses have become obsolete in the face of the high rate of insecurity on Nigerian roads.

In his address at a two-day meeting of the Association in Abuja on Wednesday, the NARTO boss bemoaned insecurity that had caused heavy casualties on members of the Association, stressing that transportation business in Nigeria has become one of the most difficult in the last four years.

He recalled how Covid-19 pandemic crippled transportation businesses, a situation he said affected the value chain.

According to him, the situation worsened such that the Federal Government’s tax credit mitigation measure could not help matters, as insecurity, bad roads and other associated malaise were confronting the industry without end in sight.

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He said: “Unfortunately, the transport industry was not immune to global challenges, including the negative impact of Covid-19 pandemic which led to loss of revenue and many businesses in the last four years.

“During this time, many vehicle owners completely went down and had to park their trucks and vehicles due to harsh operational conditions.

“The bad and inadequate road infrastructure remain an impediment to seamless movement of people, goods and services despite special funds allocated by the Federal Government such as N631 million tax credit.

“More so, the situation may worsen during the rainy season.

“Activities of bandits and kidnappers have made life miserable for drivers. We had many cases where drivers were kidnapped while on duty and some had their trucks hijacked at gunpoint along some critical routes in the country.

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“Many drivers and their assistants have lost their lives in such incidents.

“While commending the effort of security agencies in tackling these problems, we pray the Federal Government will review the security policies.”

On challenges faced by the association when fuel subsidy removal was announced by President Bola Tinubu on May 29, 2023, he said: “While the deregulation of petroleum downstream sector is commendable, it has posed substantial challenge dictated by demand and supply dynamics with regards to marketers and transporters.”

Speaking earlier, the Executive Vice President, Petroleum Downstream Sector, Dapo Segun who represented the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited, Engr. Mele Kyari, commended the Association for their cooperation during the nation’s tough times.

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“We in NNPC see NARTO as a very important stakeholder and when you call once, we respond thrice.

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“We feel your pains. We feel that so much investment has been put into the economy and the situation sometimes makes you worry about the viability of that investment.

“I would like to encourage you to continue doing what you are doing. In every business or economic circle, there are always good times and tough times. It is a common saying that tough times never last, but tough people and tough associations like NARTO last,” he said.

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