Home Business Looming Fuel Scarcity: FG Replies IPMAN On 500b Claim, Provide Payment Details

Looming Fuel Scarcity: FG Replies IPMAN On 500b Claim, Provide Payment Details

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Looming Fuel Scarcity: FG Replies IPMAN On 500b Claim, Provide Payment Details

The federal government of Nigeria has denied a claim by the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) that the government owes its members half a trillion naira, a debt the group says could worsen the latest round of fuel scarcity in the country.

Fuel queues returned this week to some cities across the country, including the federal capital Abuja, with many residents having to buy petrol from roadside hawkers at prices as high as N400 a litre against the government-set range of between N162 and N165.

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The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Limited (NNPC) blamed the shortage on insufficient lifting of products during last week’s long holidays. But the petroleum marketers association, IPMAN, said the shortage also had to do with the government’s indebtedness to its members.

The chairman of IPMAN, Kano State chapter, Bashir Dan-Mallam, was quoted as urging Nigerians to brace for a more severe crisis in the coming days, saying the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) had failed to pay marketers “bridging claims” of over N500 billion in nine months.

The claim covers the cost of transporting petrol to the hinterland. It allows marketers who still sell government regulated rates make profits.

“Failure of the NMDPRA to pay the outstanding claims for about nine months, many marketers cannot transport the product because their funds are not being paid. Despite the high price of diesel, they manage to supply petroleum products nationwide,” he was quoted by The Cable as saying.

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“The resurfacing of fuel queues in Abuja is just the tip of the iceberg with regard to the petroleum scarcity. Out of 100 per cent, only five per cent of the marketers can supply the petroleum products because of the failure of NMDPRA to pay them.”

He said since the creation of the NMDPRA as a replacement agency for the Department of Petroleum Resources, Petroleum Equalization Fund and Petroleum Pricing and Regulatory Agency, the agency had paid the marketers only twice.

“As leaders, we have to come out to say the truth because our members are suffering from the failure of the agency to pay the fund. This Petroleum Equalisation Fund is our own money we contribute to each litre,” he said. “This Agency is doing more harm than good to us. We are not agitating for a transportation fee increase, we are only clamouring for payment of our bridging claims that is over N500 billion.”

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The NMDPRA told PREMIUM TIMES on Wednesday that the claims were “totally false and baseless”

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