• Thursday, May 30, 2024
businessday logo


Fuel scarcity to worsen as IPMAN threatens to cut supply nationwide

Anambra marketers set to embark on indefinite strike as ultimatum over N900M debt expires

…alleges FG owes members N200bn

The current petroleum products scarcity may worsen in days and weeks ahead as the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) has threatened total withdrawal of services, closure of all distributing outlets run by its members and suspension of further lifting of products until the Federal Government meets its demand.

The IPMAN is demanding full payment of N200bn it claims the Federal Government owes its members, as a condition to continue to lift and distribute products.

Read also: IPMAN threatens to halt petroleum products supply nationwide over N200bn debt

Oliver Okolo, unit chairman of Aba depot, who addressed the press on behalf of the IPMAN Depot Chairmen Forum in Abuja on Tuesday, said the debt has led to the deaths of many of their members and the collapse of their businesses.

“We are extremely distressed and depressed by the laidback attitude of the leadership of the Nigerian Midstream Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA), towards the survival of our members’ businesses, arising from NMDPRA’s deliberate delay and refusal to offset the debt of over N200 billion owed our members, which has consequently led to the deaths of many of our members and the unfortunate collapse of their businesses.

“It is also disheartening to note that some of our members have completely shut down their businesses and retrenched their employees as we can no longer pay salaries. We have also watched with apprehension, the unpatriotic attitude of the leadership of the NMDPRA to offset this debt that has accrued to us since September 2022.

“As businessmen and women, our members acquired bank loans to keep their fuel retail outlets running daily across the nooks and crannies of Nigeria, to serve the teeming population of Nigerians. However, it is demoralising to know that many of our members have gone bankrupt and have become financially insolvent as a result of their inability to meet their financial obligations to their banks, arising wholly from their inability to get their monies from the NMDPRA,” Okolo said.

He decried that the banks have taken over the business premises of some of its members, adding that rather than receive support from the government to boost their businesses, the members were being discouraged by the actions of the NMDPRA.

Okolo also lamented the increment in the issuance and renewal of the sales and storage licence by the NMDPRA, and the subsequent delays in acquiring the licence.

“As IPMAN members, we are also calling on President Bola 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 licence by the NMDPRA. This is outright wickedness, and highly detrimental to our businesses. We reject it.

“We also hereby call on the Federal Government of Nigeria to wholly intervene forthwith in these lingering issues between IPMAN and NMDPRA.

Read also: IPMAN gives Soludo one month to address marketers grievance

“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. We are appealing to President Bola Tinubu, to please intervene in this quagmire that we have been subjected to by the NMDPRA.

“We repeat, if our demands are not met within the shortest period, we have already put our members on standby across the nation, as law-abiding citizens, we are collectively prepared to withdraw our services, close every single outlet, and suspend lifting of products forthwith until our demands are fully met, and the consequences will be terrible. Every marketer’s outlet across Nigeria, from the north to the south, and from the east to the west, will be shut down.

Commenting on the petrol scarcity being experienced in the country, Okolo said, “We would categorically state that the scarcity of petrol is wholly triggered by the NNPC and not by IPMAN or its members. Contrary to the claim that IPMAN members are hoarding products, we make bold to say that the NNPC is the sole importer of products, and therefore, the sole cause of the present scarcity in Nigeria,” Okolo added.