Petrol Scarcity: Marketers threaten shutdown over N200bn debt - NEWS FRONTIER DAILY


Tuesday, April 30, 2024

Petrol Scarcity: Marketers threaten shutdown over N200bn debt

The present scarcity of petrol, the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, IPMAN, has threatened to shut down operations over failure by the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority, NMDPRA, to pay about N200 billion bridging debts owed its members.

This was coming five days after NNPC Limited assured Nigerians that it had resolved logistic challenges that caused fuel scarcity across the country.

Speaking in Abuja, IPMAN Depots Chairmen Forum said all efforts made to get NMDPRA to refund their petrol bridging claims in the last two years have yielded very little result.

The spokesman of the group and Chairman of IPMAN Aba Depot, Maxi Oliver Okolo said NMDPRA has failed to implement in full the directive by the Minister of State Petroleum Resources (Oil), Senator Heineken Lokpobiri during a stakeholders meeting on February 20, 2024, that the marketers should by paid with 40 days period.

According to him, “today, we have crossed the 40 days timeline given to the NMDPRA to clear the debt, and it is shameful to state that only the paltry sum of N13 billion has been paid, thus going the whole length to ignore our plight without remorse and without recourse to the Minister’s directive.

“Before now, we had taken the honourable path to continually seek explanation from the NMDPRA, on why he has blatantly refused to offset the remaining debt, but we have ceaselessly met brick walls.

Secondly, we are not happy with the indiscriminate increment in the issuance and renewal of the Sales and Storage License, by the NMDPRA, and the subsequent delays in acquiring the license, which our members have been recently subjected to.

“As IPMAN members we are also calling on President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, to closely look into this unwholesome figure which is highly detrimental to our business and reverse it forthwith, as it is bound to impact negatively on the masses thereafter. We see no reason why there should be an increment of over 500 percent on the Sales and Storage License by the NMDPRA. This is outright wickedness, and therefore highly detrimental to our businesses. We totally reject it.

“We also hereby call on the federal government of Nigeria to wholly intervene forthwith in these lingering issues between the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) and the Nigerian Midstream & Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority.

“We are poised to take far reaching decisions that may cripple the supply and sales of petroleum products across Nigeria, if our demands are not met within the shortest period of time. More so, this money in question that the marketers are asking for is our monies set aside, collected from us, and deducted from our own monies, to augment our transport fares.

“We are merely asking for the return of our money that is in the purse of the NMDPRA. It is not a matter of the government’s budget. NMDPRA has illegally taken our monies and this is the highest level of fraud”, the group added.

The Chairman of IPMAN Depots Chairmen Forum, Alhaji Yahaya Alhassan also asked the Federal Government to intervene and ensure that independent marketers are able to obtain petrol from NNPC Limited depots against the current arrangement where independent marketers were compelled to patronize private depots.

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