Petrol scarcity in Abuja, environs escalates as IPMAN, NMDPRA disagree over bridging claims

Oredola Adeola

The ongoing petrol scarcity in Abuja and some parts of the country is about to grow more intense as the  Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, IPMAN has threatened complete shut-down of their stations over claim of being shortchanged by the Nigeria Midstream and Downstream Authority (NMDPRA) on bridging claims.

Alhaji Yahaya Hamman Alhassan, IPMAN Suleja unit Chairman, Mohammed Shaibu, IPMAN Unit secretary, made this known in a joint statement issued in Abuja on Wednesday.

The IPMAN Chairman said, “This strike is a warning strike, and if care is not taken, we are going to continue because our members, majority of them, have already left this business because of their payments. The warning is between now and next week.”

The Unit Secretary on his part revealed that the petroleum equalization fund (PEF) owes Suleja marketers bridging claims dating back to 2021.

Mohammed said that the non-payment of claim has resulted in the layoff of more than 85 percent of their workforce, including pump attendants, truck drivers, and other administrative personnel.

He noted that most marketers have been struggling to maintain their trucks due to the failure to pay the bridging claims.
He identified the delay in payment as the cause of the persistent fuel across the country especially in Abuja and its environs.

The IPMAN scribe however threatened that the marketers would withdraw their services, asking Nigerians to hold the NMDPRA’s executives accountable for the fuel crisis.

Mr. Farouk Ahmed, Chief Executive of the NMDPRA, on Wednesday in response to the allegation of IPMAN(Suleja chapter) claimed that the Authority has paid the sum of  N74  billion to oil marketers as bridging claims in the past seven months.

The Authority’s Chief Executive(ACE) said, “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.

Farouk further claimed 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.

According to him, at a meeting on May 17 with IPMAN discussed bridging payment extensively and the processes were explained and agreed upon by IPMAN.

He also assured IPMAN of NMDPRA’s willingness to continue the payment of outstanding claims to promote seamless operations.

Pursuant to the meeting, he said the NMDPRA made additional payment of N10 billion in June and sought for an upward review of the freight rate which was approved by President Muhammadu Buhari and currently being implemented.

“It is disheartening that despite these payments and increase of N10 bridging cost, which was approved by President Muhammadu Buhari, IPMAN could turn around to accuse the NMDPRA of insensitivity.

“The authority wishes to reiterate that bridging payment is an ongoing process which is carried out after due verification by the authority and marketers,” he said.

He expressed NMDPRA commitment to ensuring a safe, efficient, and effective conduct of midstream and downstream petroleum operations.