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Fuel scarcity looms as petrol marketers lament delay in N500bn claims

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The Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) has warned Nigerians of the looming fuel scarcity in the country on the back of the N500 billion claims the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) owes its members.

Bashir Danmalam, chairman, IPMAN, Kano State chapter, said the failure of NMDPRA to pay the bridging claims, also known as transportation claims, has forced many of its members out of business because they could not transport the commodity due to high cost of diesel.

“The NMDPRA is in charge of paying bridging claims, also known as transportation claims,” he said.

Danmalam also bemoaned the NMDPRA’s failure to pay claims for over eight months, which had crippled the businesses of many of their members because they couldn’t transport the commodity even though it was available.

“Many marketers are unable to transport products due to the NMDPRA’s failure to pay outstanding claims for approximately nine months,” he stated. “Despite the high cost of diesel, they are able to supply petroleum products across the country.”

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“Out of 100 percent, only five percent of the marketers can supply the petroleum products because of the failure of NMDPRA to pay them,” he reiterated.

In addition, the chairman pointed out that since the merger of DPR, PEF, and PPRA into NMDPRA, the agency had only paid them twice.

As a result, Danmalam urged the Federal Government to step in before the situation deteriorated into a serious fuel crisis that spread to other parts of the country.

“As leaders, we must speak out to say the truth because our members are suffering as a result of the agency’s failure to pay the fund.

“This Petroleum Equalisation Fund is made up of our own money, which we contribute with each litre,” he stated. “This agency is causing us more harm than good.”

Meanwhile, cases of queues caused by fuel scarcity have already been spotted in Abuja.

Joseph Alfa, a quality assurance control personnel at the Eko Electricity Distribution Company (EKEDC), who is currently on holiday with his family said fuelling has become a problem since he arrived at the FCT

“I have to call the service of motorists now whenever I want to leave the house,” he said. “The price for petrol now goes as low as N300 per litre at the black market.”

Also, Oniyere Bridget, an undergraduate of the federal university of Technology, Akure, lamented the stress faced to get petrol in her area – the FCT while talking to businessday.

“Yesterday I could not get petrol after visiting three fuel stations,” she said. “I had to get it for N350 at the black market.”

Danmalam, On the other hand, warned that what is currently going on in Abuja is the tip of the iceberg.

“The resurfacing of fuel queues in Abuja is just the tip of the iceberg with regard to the petroleum scarcity.”

The chairman stated that Nigerians should not blame their members for the fuel shortage, but rather blame the NMDPRA.

“We are not agitating for an increase in transportation fees; we are only demanding payment of our N500 billion bridging claims.”