Northern Independent Petroleum Marketers Forum comprising nine depots in the North, including Kano, Kaduna, Suleja, Minna, Jos, Maiduguri, Gombe and Yola depots, has revealed that the forum had discovered that there is over N250 billion outstanding bridging claims that had not been paid by the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA).
This was disclosed during a press conference on Thursday in Kano after a review meeting of the forum.
Speaking on the matter, chairman of the forum, Musa Yahya Maikifi said failure to access the fund was threatening their businesses as some of their members could not afford to supply petroleum and sell it at various outlets.
According to him, the money would be used by the members of the forum to sustain the business, noting that failure to access the fund would have adverse effects on the entire northern states.
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He explained that there were lots of outstanding bridging claims since the time of the defunct Petroleum Equalisation Fund but the money had not been paid to them.
“We have outstanding bridging claims up to the day when the end of the deregulation was announced by the new president. As the new deregulation regime started now, we are faced with difficulties such as lack of capital to continue our business because most of our capital was hanged with the defunct Petroleum Equalization Fund, “he said.
Similarly, Secretary of the forum, Alhaji Jarma Mustapha pleaded with President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to wade into the matter to avoid the forum’ withdrawal of their services.
“We are now calling on President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to intervene so that the whole of our outstanding claims, up to the 30th May, 2023, when the new deregulation was announced, should be paid for our members to continue getting enough capital to continue being in business,” he said.
According to the secretary, the money being used to pay for the bridging claims is the one contributed by the consumers, which is collected by the marketers, paid to NNPC, NNPC collects and pays into the collective fund of the Equalisation Fund.
“As business people, we do not go on strike but if the situation persists, we will just withdraw our services, which we do not pray for such to happen,” he said.
Nigerians could experience another round of fuel scarcity in the near future if the marketers withdrew their services.