There are strong indications that the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) may face the stiffest opposition over the controversial N10, 000 entry sticker permit levy so far as the Petroleum Tanker Drivers (PTD) arm of NUPENG has threatened the withdrawal of their services nationwide in solidarity with truck owners.
The tanker drivers whose fleet is owned by members of the Nigerian Association Road Transport Owners (NARTO) ,insist that they may be forced to down-tools should the NPA insist on going ahead with the collection of the fees from their colleagues whose owners belong to the dry cargo section of the association.
Recall that NARTO had threatened the NPA to refund monies collected from truckers or face the dire consequence. It is gathered that the decision to go on solidarity strike was one of the resolutions that were reached at a recent meeting of NARTO in Abuja.
A source who attended the National Executive Council meeting in Abuja squealed that the National President of NARTO, Alhaji Kassim Bataiya is already in consultations with top members of the association who have large fleet of tankers, on the possible withdrawal of their services in the wet cargo section. The plan is to force NPA to stop from further collection of the N10, 000 from truck owners and also ensure that what had been collected is refunded.
The sources affirmed that the move by the union to order their workers to withdraw service nationwide is in line with the NARTO NEC’s resolution. According to the source who accused management of NPA of short-changing the truckers, the dispute between both parties may soon enter a new dimension if NPA fails to refund monies collected from maritime truck operators.
However, NPA through the General Manager in charge of Western Port, Chief Michael Ajayi who midwifed it had always maintained that the decision to ensure minimum standard was irreversible and that the decision was a product of months of negotiations between all the parties involved and that the N10, 000 levy is administrative fee, but, our source who is also a top member of NARTO, pleaded that: “We are still appealing to the management of the NPA to stop imposing the levy”.
According to him, ‘’the decision of the national executives of NARTO, when concluded will have a dire consequence on the economy, because people will ask questions why our members will have no option but to withdraw their tankers from lifting petroleum products from Lagos”.