Fuel scarcity: No end in sight!


*IPMAN laments, asks Nigerians to prepare for worst petroleum scarcity

*Says FG owes its members whooping N500 billion as bridging claims

*Urges NNPC to convert special allocation for cargo to IPMAN to quickly address the issue

*Fuel queues due to low load-outs at depots – NNPC, insists it has 2.5 billion litres in stock

By Michael Oche

Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), on Tuesday urged Nigerians to prepare for the worst petroleum scarcity if the federal government fails to pay marketers their bridging claims worth N500 billion to enable them to begin lifting petroleum products from the depots.

The IPMAN Public Relations Officer, Alhaji Yakubu Suleiman who stated this in Abuja claims that the Federal Government owes its members a whooping sum of N500 billion as bridging claims also known as transportation claims.

Suleiman also urged the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to convert the special allocation of products meant for cargo to IPMAN in order to quickly address the current shortage of fuel in the country.

“We are calling on the Nigeria downstream and mainstream regulatory authorities to try and pay our marketers their bridging claims as from today, (Tuesday).

“This is important, so that as soon as we get the payment, we can give directives to marketers to start loading their trucks, so that they can start transporting petroleum products.

“We are calling on the authorities and the NNPC to quickly allocate a certain cargo of AGO for IPMAN to distribute it to their members to enable them fuel their trucks for accelerated bridging loading.

“There is no money to buy the product until the Federal Government pays our claims and assists in allocating a cargo of AGO to us to hasten loading from various loading deports,” Suleiman said.

Our correspondent observed that most filling stations in Abuja were shut down at the weekend following scarcity of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), popularly known as petrol, thereby, resulting in long queues.

Meanwhile, the IPMAN Chairman in Kano State, Bashir Danmalam, also said “The resurfacing of fuel queues in Abuja is just a tip of the iceberg with regard to the petroleum scarcity.”

The IPMAN Chairman in Kano State, Bashir Danmalam who made the remarks while addressing a news conference in Kano said the failure of the NMDPRA to pay the bridging claims, otherwise known as transportation claims, had forced many of its members out of business as they couldn’t transport the commodity due to high cost of diesel.

He lamented that non-payment of the claims by NMDPRA for over eight months had crippled the businesses of many of their members as they couldn’t transport the commodity even though it was available.

“NMDPRA is responsible for the payment of bridging claims otherwise known as transportation claims

“For failure of the NMDPRA to pay the outstanding claims for about nine months, many marketers cannot transport the product because their funds are not being paid. Despite the high price of diesel, they manage to supply the petroleum products nationwide”, he said.

In its reaction, the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC Ltd.) explained that the sudden appearance of fuel queues in parts of Abuja is due to low load-outs at depots.

A statement by Garba Muhammad, Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Department, NNPC said this usually happened during a long public holidays, hence the Sallah celebrations.

Muhammad said another contributing factor to the sudden appearances of queues was the increased fuel purchases which were also common with returning residents of the FCT from the public holidays.

“The NNPC and the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority in conjunction with their marketing partners have taken necessary measures to ramp up load-outs from all depots.

“We assure all residents of the FCT, and indeed all Nigerians, that we have ample local supplies and national stock in excess of 2.5 billion litres, with sufficiency of more than 43 days.