By Bassey Udo
The implementation of the petroleum products bridging programme will continue under the new regulatory regime by the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) to ensure the availability of petroleum products nationwide, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the agency, Farouk Ahmed, has said.
Bridging involves the loading of petroleum products by marketers at designated storage depots and transported in tankers to different parts of the country for distribution to fuel retail outlets for consumers.
Marketers involved in the bridging programme are usually entitled to receive about N7.51 per litre of petroleum products payable by the Federal Government as bridging cost captured as a component of the petroleum products pricing template by the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency.
Prior to the recent enactment of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA), the petroleum products bridging programme was handled by the Petroleum Equalization Fund (Management) Board (PEF(M)B).
However, following the coming of the PIA, both the PPPRA and the PEF were scrapped and their functions were brought under the umbrella of the NMDPRA.
In the exercise of its mandate under the PIA, the NMDPRA CEO said on Sunday in Abuja that the agency would not only continue the bridging of petroleum products, but would also sustain the payment of the bridging cost to marketers.
“We will also offset all the bridging verified claims by all the stakeholders in the distribution of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) in the country.
“The NMDPRA has assured petroleum tanker drivers and other stakeholders of the Authority’s determination to continue the payment of bridging rate to ensure effective distribution of products nationwide,” he said.
Also, the CEO disclosed that the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited has stopped charging in dollars for their shipping services.
Besides, he said both the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) and Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) would soon begin to charge for their services in Naira.
He said the two agencies have started the process of engaging the Ministry of Transportation to get the necessary approval.
The CEO urged marketers who are indebted to the government for collecting the bridging levies on its behalf as provided for in the petroleum products pricing template to remit such deductions to the agency to enable it pay outstanding claims to all marketers.
He said the resolutions were part of the outcomes from the stakeholders’ meeting held in Lagos on November 9, 2021.
“It was agreed during the meeting that all stakeholders should fulfil their mandates to the ensure seamless distribution of petroleum products nationwide as the yuletide season approaches.