The Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) has halted supply in Abuja and Suleja, Niger State, over N50 billion unpaid bridging claims by the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA).
The development comes amid the fuel scarcity in the nation’s capital.
Addressing the press in Abuja, the IPMAN unit Chairman, Alhaji Yahaya Hamman Alhassan, said: “This strike is a warning strike and if care is not taken, we are going to continue because our members, majority of them, have already left this business because of payment; the warning is between now up till next week, one week.”
The IPMAN unit secretary, Alhaji Mohammed Shuaibu, at the briefing said, “If we can give you the sum total they are owing the marketers today, it is above N50bn for 12 months. All he is doing is skeletal payment.”
Explaining further, Shuaibu said the claims is owed by the Petroleum Equalisation Fund (PEF) which was merged to form NMDPRA in October 2021, noting that the debt since 2021 has caused about 85 per cent of their staff to be laid-off “because there is no money to pay their salaries; this includes pump attendants, truck drivers and other administrative staff.”
He also blamed the petrol scarcity in Abuja and environs on the lack of payment as IPMAN lacks money to buy new product and transport the same.
“All efforts made to reach out to the head of NMDPRA were not successful. The public should hold the head of NMDPRA responsible for the current scarcity being experienced across the petrol station in Abuja and environs,” said Shuaibu.
The NMDPRA head, Mr Farouk Ahmed, recently dismissed the one-year claim of marketers, saying only few payments were outstanding because affected marketers did not show up for claims verification.
But the IPMAN unit secretary said the government under PEF transited from manual to electronic claims verification with the Project Aquila.
“They have our record and everything is in their system, they should come out clean and pay us our money. The last time we confronted him, he selected marketers and paid them, he paid three or four marketers and said it was a mistake,” said Shuaibu.