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Cablegate: Nigeria: Four-Day Fuel Tanker Driver Strike Ends

VZCZCXRO9146
PP RUEHMA RUEHPA
DE RUEHUJA #1349 1981238
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 161238Z JUL 08 ZDK
FM AMEMBASSY ABUJA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 3353
INFO RUEHZK/ECOWAS COLLECTIVE
RUEHOS/AMCONSUL LAGOS 9584
RUEHC/DEPT OF LABOR WASHDC
RHMFISS/HQ USAFRICOM STUTTGART GE
RHEBAAA/DEPT OF ENERGY WASHDC
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHINGTON DC
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC
RUEKDIA/DIA WASHDC
RHMFISS/HQ USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE
RUZEJAA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK

UNCLAS ABUJA 001349

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPT FOR AF/W, INR/AA

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV ELAB EPET ECON EFIN ELTN ENRG NI
SUBJECT: NIGERIA: FOUR-DAY FUEL TANKER DRIVER STRIKE ENDS

THIS MESSAGE IS SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED. NOT FOR INTERNET
DISTRIBUTION.

1. (SBU) The Nigerian Petroleum Tanker Drivers (PTD), in
association with the National Union of Petroleum and Natural
Gas Workers (NUPENG), ended a four-day strike on July 14.
NUPENG President Peter Akpatason confirmed to Poloff press
reports that the tanker drivers were striking over diesel and
kerosene prices, the need for improvements to the nation's
roads, improvement of the security situation for drivers, an
end to "excess profits" for petroleum marketers, and a
desired pay raise for the drivers. Tanker drivers have
increasingly been targets of highjackings or robbery as the
price of oil has risen. (Note: Under current arrangements,
a driver essentially borrows the tanker from the owner, and
has to do a minimum number of fuel runs, typically five, for
the owner before starting to make money for himself. The
drivers claim this is excessive, making them work inordinate
hours before they break even.) Following four days of work
stoppage, which had already resulted in long fuel queues
across the country and clogged traffic in the cities, the
strike was suspended for two weeks to allow continued
negotiations between the GON and the strikers.

2. (SBU) Akpatason told Poloff that PTD and NUPENG
representatives met with Minister of State for Energy
(petroleum) Adein Ajumogobia in Lagos over the weekend.
Ajumogobia agreed to give due attention to all demands if the
drivers would suspend the strike. All stakeholders,
including the Ministers of Petroleum, Transport and Finance,
the police, NUPENG, the Nigerian National Petroleum
Corporation (NNPC), the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory
Agency (PPPRA), the Independent Petroleum Marketers
Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), and others agreed to meet on
July 15 in Abuja to discuss the drivers' concerns.

3. (SBU) Comment. Mission personnel reported long lines and
high levels of frustration among taxi and motor-taxi drivers.
Several fuel stations reported no fuel was available,
although at least one was directly observed to be pumping
fuel into jerry cans apparently for resale on the black
market. Black market fuel sold for as much as 250 Naira
($2.14) per liter in Abuja over the July 11-13 weekend -- a
considerable markup from the government subsidized rate of 70
Naira ($.60) per liter. Mission Nigeria will continue to
monitor this situation. End Comment.
SANDERS

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