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IPMAN threatens to cripple fuel supply nationwide over N200bn bridging claims

IPMAN

IPMAN

By Emmanuella Anokam

The Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) Depot Chairmen Forum, has threatened to take far-reaching decisions that may cripple the supply and sales of petroleum products across Nigeria over non-payment of N200 billion bridging claims by the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) to its members, since 2022.

The IPMAN forum said it was distressed and depressed by the laidback attitude of the NMDPRA towards the survival of its member’s businesses, arising from its refusal in paying the claims.

Alhaji Yahaya Alhassan, the Chairman, of the Forum said this while briefing newsmen on Tuesday in Abuja.

“It is with deep frustration that we have assembled here today as the IPMAN Depot Chairmen Forum. It is also disheartening to note that some of our members have completely shut down businesses and retrenched employees.

“As businessmen and women, our members acquired bank loans to keep their fuel retail outlets running on a daily basis across the nooks and crannies of Nigeria in order to serve the teeming population of Nigerians,’’ Alhassan said.

He recalled that Sen. Heineken Lokpobiri, Minister of State Petroleum Resources (Oil), at a stakeholders meeting in February mandated the NMDPRA management to clear the entire debt in 40 days.

“However, today, we have crossed the 40 days’ time lapse 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, ignoring minister’s directive.

“We are not happy with the indiscriminate increment in the issuance and renewal of Sales and Storage Licence, by the NMDPRA, and the subsequent delays in acquiring the licence, which our members are recently subjected to.

“We are also calling on President Bola Tinubu to 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.

“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.

“We are collectively prepared to withdraw our services, shut down every single outlet, and suspend lifting of products forthwith till our demands are fully met, and the consequences will be terrible.

“We call on our members to however remain resolute and law abiding, even as we draw close to the immediate ultimatum for our demands to be met by the NMDPRA,’’ the chairman said.

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The group also exonerated its members from the current fuel scarcity in the country. According to IPMAN, the is caused by its inability to source petroleum products.

Alhassan said the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC Ltd.) was the sole importer of the product, but the marketers could not source products from NNPC Ltd. deport, rather from the private depots at high rate.

“We cannot buy fuel from the private depots at N950 and transport the product from Lagos to the North and other parts of the country with N2 million and still sell it at N900 or N1, 000.

“It is expedient for us to state that we are more pained by the non-availability of petroleum products in the country, which has given rise to another round of untold hardship for Nigerians.

“Contrary to claims that IPMAN members are hoarding Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) known as fuel, we would like to categorically state that PMS scarcity is wholly triggered by inability to get fuel from NNPC and not IPMAN,’’ he said.

Meanwhile, the NNPC Ltd. Chief Corporate Communications Officer, Olufemi Soneye said the disruption was due to logistical issues which had since been resolved.

“We currently have an availability of products exceeding 1.5 billion litres, which can last for at least 30 days. Unfortunately, we experienced a three-day disruption in distribution due to logistical issues, which has since been resolved.

“However, as you know, overcoming such disruptions typically requires double the amount of time to return to normal operations.

“Some folks are taking advantage of this situation to maximise profits. Thankfully, product scarcity has been minimal lately, but these folks might be exploiting the situation for unwarranted gain,’’ Soneye said.

He however, said the lines would clear out soon.

Reacting to the IPMAN’s claims, the Acting Head, Corporate Communications, NMDPRA, Seiyefa Osanebi said the bridging claims payment was ongoing.

“The bridging claims payment is always an ongoing process,” she said.

(NAN)

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