Oil marketers had recently informed of an impending strike over debt owed them by downstream regulato
The President, Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), Alhaji Debo Ahmed, has said the N34 billion paid to its members by Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) for bridging is insufficient when compared to what should have been paid.
A bridging claim is the cost of transporting petroleum products from refineries and depots to fuel stations.
IPMAN had claimed that its members were being owed N500 billlion bridging claim.
But NMDPRA had, on Thursday, said it disbursed over N58 billion to oil marketers in the past six months, adding that out of the N58 billion, IPMAN members were directly paid N34 billion.
But in an interview with New Telegraph, Ahmed said IPMAN members had not received payment for 11 months.
Ahmed said: “Every day there is bringing. Bridging is on-going. He should tell us when they stopped their payment because for the past 11 months, we have not been able to receive payout. And, every day, over 200 or 300 vehicles convey petroleum products. So, what is N34 billion? One depot is over 200 vehicles that come for bridging from Lagos.
LagosDefinitely, the payment accumulates every day. For N34 billion, when and when did you pay up? They even said in their submission that they know it was on-going. So, the payment is still there pilling up.
“Secondly, when they were paying, they did selective payment. It is not the order of the day because the products’ transportations have been digitalised. We have something called Aquilla. Immediately you discharge your product and everything is okay, the Aquilla will automatically show the line and they clear you. So, they automatically credit your account with the payment. That was what they were doing before e-payment.
“The N34b billion is insufficient because every day there is bridging. If there is a product, there is continued bridging and the money is accumulating. If you pay us N34 billion, where and when did you pay up to? And what is the remaining one? It is an on-going process.
“Noboby submitted irrelevant documents. They do not even give us the document. The document goes to them straight. Aquilla is a system that automatically clears everything. If I take product from Lagos to Maiduguri, when I discharge, you see that Aquilla will confirm that I had discharged. That is all.
“They have a system in their office where they see the movement of products. They watch it. They know where the product is going and where it is. If there is any problem along the line, they will call. So, it is not an issue for us to reconcile. What are we reconciling?”
NMDPRA, in the statement, claimed that some of the pending payments were due to the alleged reluctance of marketers to reconcile their claims despite the authority’s continuous appeal to come for reconciliation whenever there are discrepancies
The statement read in part: “The Nigerian Midstream and
Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) has taken note of concerns raised by some Oil Marketers over their outstanding bridging claims.
“The administration of bridging payment is a continuous process as hundreds of trucks load and discharge products daily, thereby adding to the claims.
“The total amount disbursed so far was the highest ever paid within a six-months span by previous fund administrators,” which implies that the reimbursement of marketer’s transportation differentials for petroleum products movement from depots to sales outlets is a priority to NMDPRA.”
The Kano State Chairman of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), Alhaji Bashir Danmalam, had warned that there was an impending fuel scarcity across Nigeria because of the alleged failure of the appropriate authorities to pay marketers their bridging claims amounting to N500 billion.
He warned that the recent fuel scarcity in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, would be a tip of the iceberg of the looming national scarcity of premium motor spirit, also known as petrol.
Danmalam, speaking to journalists, pleaded with the Federal Government to prevail on the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) to pay its members their bridging claims, to prevent another petrol scarcity.
He claimed that the agency had paid marketers only twice since the merging of the Department of Petroleum Resources, the Petroleum Equalisation Fund and the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency into the NMDPRA.