Fuel scarcity looms as Northern petrol marketers owes over N250bn bridging claims


By Abdullahi Jalalalluden

Nigerians could see another round of fuel scarcity in the near future if the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) fail to pay over N250 billion outstanding bridging claims to Northern Independent Petroleum Marketers Forum.

RADIO NIGERIA reports that bridging claims represent the cost of transporting fuel from Pipelines and Products Marketing Company depots to approved zones to ensure a uniform pump price across the country.

The forum comprises nine depots in the North, including Kano, Kaduna, Suleja, Minna, Jos, Maiduguri, Gombe and Yola depots.

Speaking at a press conference on Thursday in Kano, after a review meeting, Chairman of the forum, Musa Yahya Maikifi said the forum had discovered that there is over N250 billion outstanding bridging claims that had not been paid by the NMDPRA for the period of one year.

He said failure to access the fund is threatening their businesses as some of their members could not afford to supply petroleum and sell it at various outlets.

According to him, the money would be used by the members of the forum to sustain the business, noting that failure to access the fund would have adverse effects on the entire northern state.

Shading more lights on the issue, Secretary of the forum Jarma Mustapha, said there were lots of outstanding bridging claims since the time of the defunct Petroleum Equalization Fund but the money had not been paid to them.

“We have outstanding bridging claims up to the day when the end of the deregulation was announced by the new President. As the new deregulation regime started now, we are faced with difficulties such as lack of capacity, lack of capital to continue our business because most of our capital was hanged with the defunct Petroleum Equalization Fund.

“We are now calling on President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to intervene so that the whole of our outstanding claims, up to the 30th May, 2023, when the new deregulation was announced, should be paid for our members to continue getting enough capital to continue being in business.

“Today, the capital you need to have one truck of the product before, has multiplied by four to have same number of truck today. You paid NO million to purchase one truck of petroleum, now you will need N27 million to buy one truck.

“Almost all of our members are going out of business. Based on that, we are appealing to the President to intervene, talk to the authorities concerned to immediately pay all our outstanding claims,” Mustapha appealed.

He explained that “the money used to pay for the bridging claims is the one contributed by the consumers, which is collected by the marketers, pay to NNPC, NNPC collects and pay into the collective fund of the Equalization Fund.

“That money is not budgeted, which is financed by the government. It is financed by the consumers through the marketers, basically to equalize prices across country,” he explained.

The Secretary said the forum would follow diplomatic means to get the money paid to it.

He however stated that if all their efforts for diplomatic approach prove abortive, the forum does not know how to control its members if they deem fit to take action.

“We will follow diplomatic means to access the fund but we can not guarantee you that the diplomatic means will be sustainable. We don’t know how to control out members. It is incumbent on the government to look at the situation, consider our support to the deregulation policies and do the needful.

“As business people, we do not go on strike but if the situation persist, we will just withdraw our services, which we do not pray for such to happen,” he said.

Please follow and like us:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *