SUBSIDY REMOVAL: Marine Transporters Groan Over Low Patronage, Call For Govt. Intervention, Partnership

Mr. Anthony Kaka, MD, Tony Marine
08 Jul, 2023

The effects of the recent hike in the pump price of Premium Motor Spirit, PMS, popularly known as petrol, is gradually manifesting and posing huge challenge for transporters in the marine sector as patronage of hiring of boats has declined sharply.

Speaking midweek to PENGlobal Business, a marine operator at the popular NPA Waterside in Warri, Delta State, Mr. Anthony Kaka, the Managing Director of Tony Marine Limited, said most people are currently finding it difficult to travel to their villages in the creeks because of the astronomical rise in boat transportation fares.

According to the entrepreneur who said he has been in the marine transport business for more than 15 years, said that, the situation of hike in prices has lower demands and is posing a threat to their survival.

"See all these boats at the waterside," he said, pointing in the direction of some boats that were stationed nearby. "Before, by this time (7:30am), you will not see these boats here as they would've gone for jobs. But because of increase in fuel price, it is not like before."

On the price of petrol, he said that while some marketers are selling a litre of petrol for between N530.00k to N535.00k, others in the black market sells a litre for as high as N700.00k (inclusive of engine oil charges); and that for boat hire, while a 200hp boat plus fuel plying between Warri and Gbaramatu Kingdom in Warri South-West LGA that use to come at N80,000.00k now goes for as low as N142,000.00k (about 60 percent increase).

Mr. Tony also lamented the lack of government presence in the local marine transport business, a situation he said has also contributed to high fares by the private sector operators due to scarcity of boats, and the lack of government seriousness which is posing risk to travellers especially with no enforcement of safety rules such as the compulsory use of life vest for boat drivers and passengers.

The marine stakeholder therefore appealed to both the federal and the state government, through their regulatory agency and commission, to wade into the challenges posed by high fares and that the government should partner with the private sector in the area of provisions of boats, life vests, clearing of the waterways, and ensuring adequate security.

"I am appealing to the government, I know they're to trying but I want them to look into how they can bring some relief to the local marine transport sector especially the price of fuel. See all these boats at the waterside, no jobs. Boat drivers are hungry, both owners and me as a marketer, we are all hungry. If customers don't buy my product there will be nothing to take home. So please I'm appealing to the government to find permanent solutions to the challenges," he appealed.


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