Subsidy: Rivers NURTW releases new fares, threatens defaulters with N10,000 fine

Long queue of cars at a filling station caused by fuel scarcity. Photo: IDOWU OGUNLEYE.

By Okafor Ofiebor/Port Harcourt

As commuters groan over the hike in transport costs following the removal of fuel subsidy, the National Union of Road Transport Workers, NURTW, has issued a memo containing new fares to be charged by taxi drivers for inter and intra- city trips in Port Harcourt.

NURTW also stipulated a fine of N10,000 for drivers who charge below or above the approved fares.

The Union released the fare list as most workers, traders and students resorted to trekking due to the hike in transportation fares.

An investigation by PM NEWS revealed that in Port Harcourt city, the fare for a trip from Oyigbo Area to Eleme junction has jumped N150 to between N250 and N300, while the fare from Eleme junction to Mile 1 park that was N150 is now N250/N300.

There has also been a commensurate increase in fares from Port Harcourt to other cities and states in the country.

For instance, the fare for a trip from Port Harcourt to Asaba which was N6,000 has jumped to N8,000.

A civil servant, Christian Okaki, who works at the State Secretariat said he would be spending about N1000 to N1,500 daily commuting from Igwuruta in Ikwerre local government area to his office with the increase in fares.

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He lamented that transport fares will consume a great chunk of his salary.

Also, a trader in Rumuokoro, Paulinus Ikem lamented that shops are locked and sales had declined following the hardship prevailing in the city, due to fuel subsidy removal.

Meanwhile, investigations by our correspondent revealed that some of the Independent marketers were selling petrol between N550 to N600 per litre.

Transport fares by NURTW in Rivers
Transport fares by NURTW in Rivers

Chairman of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, IPMAN, Joseph Obele explained that they bought the product for N180 per litre, but his members were served a memo asking them to pay the differentials occasioned by the new price regime.

“Some members had made an advance payment of between 60 to 90 days ago. Now they are ordering them to pay the differentials even when they are old stocks covered by subsidy”.

Obele stated that all the vessels that land at the ports before now have had their landing documents processed and captured by the subsidy, so he does not see why Marketers are being forced to pay any higher cost for now.

The IPMAN Chairman said that the as it stands, the industry is fully deregulated and marketers are at liberty to sell products at any cost, depending on how much they spent to source their products.

“As it is now, no marketer will be sanctioned for selling at any price as the Federal Government would not be able to issue any template to marketers” Obele added.

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