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Fuel Crisis: We’ve paid over N58bn bridging claims to marketers –NMDPRA

*The Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority assures consumers the Authority has taken note of the concerns raised by some oil marketers over their outstanding bridging claims as the current fuel situation stabilises

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

Against the backdrop of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria’s recent claim of N500billion unpaid bridging claims by the industry Regulator, the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) has stated that  it paid over N58 billion to oil marketers as bridging claims.

ConsumerConnect reports the NMDPRA said out of the N58 billion, about N34 billion went directly to members of Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN).

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Mr. Kimchi Apollo, General Manager, Corporate Communications of NMDPRA, in a statement issued Thursday, May 12, 2022, said since December 2021, the Authority had made several payments to marketers whose claims had been verified.

Recall that IPMAN had claimed that the Federal Government owed its members N500billion as bridging claims, also known as transportation claims in local parlance.

The markers’ Association also urged the Federal Government to pay it’s members their bridging claims to enable them begin lifting petroleum products from the depots, to address the current fuel scarcity currently being experienced in some parts of the country, and ultimately, improve the fuel supply chain.

Likewise, the Association of Distributors and Transporters of Petroleum Products (ADITOP) recently urged the Authority to increase the freight rate being given to petroleum transporters to suit current realities, as they could no longer afford the relatively high cost of diesel to transport petroleum products across Nigeria.

In his statement Thursday, however, Mr. Apollo said that the NMDPRA had taken note of the concerns raised by some oil marketers over their outstanding bridging claims.

According to the Spokesman, the Authority has disbursed over N58 billion, and he stated that the administration of bridging payment is a continuous process.

More so, hundreds of trucks load and discharge products daily, thereby adding to the claims, Apollo noted.

The NMDPRA General Manager, Corporate Communications said: “We wish to stress that the total amount disbursed so far is the highest ever paid within a six-month span by previous fund administrators.

“This implies that the reimbursement of marketers’ transportation differentials for petroleum products movement from depots to sales outlets is a priority to NMDPRA.”

Apollo further stated that the freight rates were recently reviewed upwards to reflect current market realities and stimulate investments in the transportation of petroleum products in the country to ensure uninterrupted distribution.

Some of the pending payments, he stated, were due to the reluctance of marketers to reconcile their claims, in spite of the Authority’s continuous appeal for them to come for reconciliation whenever there were discrepancies.

The NMDPRA as well assured the consumers that NNPC Limited has sufficient PMS to last over 47 days, translating into about 2.65 billion litres.

The statement also noted: “Therefore, there is no need to panic, as the current situation being experienced in some parts of the country will soon stabilise.

“To address this, some loading depots have been directed to operate on extended hours to enable increased truck-out.”

He stated: “In the interim, the vessel discharge operations have been reviewed to fast-track truck loading and distribution in order to meet increased demand.

“We wish to state that the authority remains committed to honour and process legitimate and verified bridging claims to ensure product availability nationwide.”

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