Fuel Scarcity Bites Harder as IPMAN Insists on Payment of N500bn Bridging Claims
…….Tells Nigerians, prepare for worst fuel scarcity ever
The question was yet unanswered as at yesterday, ‘Who blinks first,’ as the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) and Nigeria‘s federal government continue to hold each other in neck over N500bn bridging claims.
The resultant long queues continued in the petrol stations, some of them as long as half a kilometer, in the nation’s capital. Expectedly, the black market operators are openly noticed in their game of hawking petrol for as much as N3,500 for 10 liters.
Impatient motorists, especially those using high definition vehicles, and are willing to give tips, are let into the filling stations through back entrances and offered ‘express services,’ after parting with as much N1000 Yesterday, the Independent Marketers Association of Nigeria reiterated their unwillingness to budge in their demand for unsettled transport claims for the past nine months.
They said the non settlement of the claims, running into several millions, has pushed many of its members out of business and affected the industry due to the high cost of diesel.
Warning that the current protest by the IPMAN members may linger and worsen if possible, IPMAN said Nigerians should be ready for the worst fuel scarcity situation in history.
The IPMAN chairman, Kano state, Bashir Danmalam, who spoke to pressmen on Monday on behalf of the national committee, said the scarcity can only be averted if the federal government prevails on the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) to pay IPMAN members bridging claims totaling N500billion.
Danmalam said: “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. The resurfacing of fuel queues in Abuja is just a tip of the iceberg with regard to the petroleum scarcity.
“Only five percent of the marketers can supply the petroleum products because of the failure of NMDPRA to pay them,” he stated.
According to the IPMAN chief, since the merging of DPR, PEF and PPPRA to NMDPRA his members have only been paid twice. He therefore called on the federal government to intervene and arrest the situation before it gets out of hand and spread to all parts of the country.
“As leaders, we have to come out to say the truth because our members are suffering from the failure of the agency to pay the fund. This Petroleum Equalisation Fund is our own money we contribute to each litre. This agency is doing more harm than good to us.