Why Fuel Sarcity Will Linger on, IMPMAN Dismisses Payment of N74Bn By NMDPRA)
The Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, NUPENG, has explained why fuel scarcity would not end in Nigeria soon.
This is just as the Northern Independent Petroleum Marketers Forum,has threatened to down tool over non payment of of bridging claims
It stated that as long as the country continue to import refined products despite being an oil producing country, so long the problem would remain with us.
“The country will also not reap the full benefits of being an oil-producing nation by abandoning local refining of petroleum products for importation,” it stated.
William Akporeha, President of NUPENG, stated this weekend, in Ibadan, Oyo State, at the 5th Quadrennial Delegates Conference, QDC, of the Petroleum Tanker Drivers, PTD, branch of NUPENG.
He expressed disappointment in the governors of the Niger Delta for not investing in local refining of fuel but airline and other areas, despite having crude oil at their backyard.
He lamented over the frequent fuel scarcity in the country, insisting that scarcity would not end soon because of the government’s deliberate policy of importation rather than local refining.
“As tanker drivers, our job is to distribute petroleum products whenever available to every nook and cranny across the country. We can only distribute these products when they are available and we are always ready and will continue to do so”, the NUPENG preside said..
He however stated that, if the products are not available, there is nothing we can do, stating further that the union finds it unacceptable whenever they are blamed for the scarcity of products across the country.
“We hate the buck-passing by those concerned, who failed to make the products available. We cannot understand why the government has refused to invest in local refining of petroleum products. I can tell you that scarcity of fuel will continue in the country in as much as we depend on the importation of these products.”
He said, Nigeria, as a country, has no control of the international market environment because petroleum products are international products. “The vagaries of the international market are what we are suffering today as seen in the high and rising costs of fuel globally. Nigeria is the only oil-producing country that depends on the importation of products. Refining is not rocket science. “
Earlier, outgoing National Chairman of PTD and National Trustee of NUPENG, Otunba Salimon Oladiti, commended members and NUPENG national leaders for their support during his eight years tenure.
While reeling out over 12-point achievements, Oladiti expressed happiness that the capacity training organized program for tanker drivers annually, in collaboration with Federal Road Safety Commission, FRSC, in Lagos, Warri, Port Harcourt, and Kaduna, among others, had helped to reduce accident involving tanker drivers.
He said: “My concerns and worries for the safety of lives of tanker drivers dated back to my younger days as a tanker driver. As soon as I assumed office during my first tenure in 2014, I introduced a policy that will inculcate discipline among our members, especially in the area of night traveling.
‘’We launched a vigorous campaign to ban night movement of petroleum products. Today, the ban on night traveling has saved lives and reduced drastically the rate of accidents, especially at night.”
Petroleum marketers threaten to down tool over unpaid bridging claims
Meanwhile, the Northern Independent Petroleum Marketers Forum threatened to down tool over unpaid bridging claims to their members by the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority, NMDPRA.
The forum’s chairman, Musa Maikifi, issued the threat in Kano, yesterday while reacting to claims by the NMDPRA and its Executive Officer, Farouk Ahmad, that marketers had been paid N74 billion within the past seven months, which he described as untrue.
He, however, gave the agency an ultimatum till the end of the month to pay up or marketers would go on strike.
He said: “The claim that Mr. Farouk Ahmad made on the 29th of last month that he has been paying Independent Petroleum Marketers bridging claims to the tune of N42 billion is not true. A couple of months ago, he paid some selected marketers a huge amount of money, maybe he was referring to those marketers.
“Our general marketers, comprising nine depots under my leadership: Kano, Kaduna, Gusau, Suleja, Minna, Maiduguri, Gombe, Yola, and, Jos, did not get such money.
“All the money we are using to lift the product is now with him, so, in the next few months, we won’t be able to buy the little product people are seeing now. We can’t even afford to buy it because all the money is now under his custody.
Also, reacting to NMDPRA N74 billion bridging claims payment, Secretary, Abuja-Suleja IPMAN, Mohammed Shuaibu, further disputed NMDPRA claims and challenged its Chief Executive Officer(CEO), Farouk Ahmed, to reveal the names of the marketers the government paid the N74 billion as well as show documents to prove the claim.
Similarly, Shuaibu, National President of IPMAN, Mr. Debo Ahmed, in a telephone interview with Daily Sun yesterday equally faulted the N74 billion payment claims by NMDPRA.
According to him, the claim is bogus, saying NMDPRA may have made some payment but the N74 billion claim is contestable. He said the inability of the agency to settle outstanding bridging claims no doubt has contributed to the lingering fuel scarcity.
NMDPRA had in a statement released last Wednesday by its General Manager, Corporate Communications, Kimchi Apollo, announced the payment of about N74 billion to oil marketers as bridging claims for the past seven months.
“So far, the Authority paid N71,233,712,991 bridging claims and another N2,736,179,950.84 freight differentials to oil marketers as of June 6, 2022,” Apollo said.
He said the Authority’s attention was drawn to allegations made by the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association Nigeria (IPMAN), Suleja Branch) on product scarcity as a result of non-payment of bridging claims.
Apollo said the Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN) received N9.96 billion while IPMAN members were paid N42.30 billion.
He said NNPC Retails received N6.66 billion, while DAPPMAN members were paid N12.30 billion, which translated to a total of N73.97 billion.
He noted that the Chief Executive, NMDPRA, Farouk Ahmed, at a meeting on May 17 with IPMAN discussed bridging payment extensively during which the processes were explained and agreed upon.