Nigerians should prepare for the worst fuel crisis ever in the country if the Federal Government fails to settle over N500 billion outstanding bridging claims to fuel marketers, the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) has threatened.
The Chairman of IPMAN in Kano State, Bashir Danmalam, who issued the threat on Monday in Kano said the outstanding claims have not been settled for over nine months.
Danmalam said despite the challenges the fuel marketers are facing to maintain stability in the supply of petroleum products, the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) has continued to ignore their plea for the settlement of the outstanding debt.
“NMDPRA is responsible for the payment to fuel marketers of bridging claims, otherwise known as transportation claims or cost of hauling petroleum products from refineries and depots to retail fuel stations across the country.
“For failure of the NMDPRA to pay the outstanding claims for about nine months, many marketers cannot transport petroleum products, because their funds are being withheld. Despite the high price of diesel, they still manage to supply the petroleum products nationwide.
“The resurfacing of fuel queues in Abuja is just a tip of the iceberg with regard to the petroleum scarcity that will soon come if the money is not paid to our members.
“Out of 100 percent of the fuel marketers, only five percent can supply the petroleum products, because of the failure of NMDPRA to pay them their money,” he said.
The Chairman said IPMAN was not agitating for a transportation fee increase, but only clamouring for the payment of the outstanding bridging claims of over N500 billion owed its members across the country.
After the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), Petroleum Equalization Fund (PEF), and the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) were brought under the NMDPRA, with the establishment of the Petroleum Industry Act 2021, Danmalam said the new agency paid them only twice.
He, therefore, called on the Federal Government to intervene before the situation degenerated into a nationwide fuel crisis.
“As leaders, we have to come out to say the truth, because our members are suffering from the failure of the agency to pay their fund. This Petroleum Equalisation Fund is our own money we contribute to each litre. This agency is doing more harm than good to us,” he said.
He said Nigerians should not blame their members for the current fuel scarcity in Abuja, rather NMDPRA.