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FG pays fuel transporters N22.7bn bridging claims

The Federal Government has paid bridging claims amounting to N22.7bn to transporters of petroleum products, the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority has said.

The NMDPRA said the government would also pay another N30bn to the transporters this week to ensure the smooth distribution of petroleum products across the country.

Bridging claims represent the cost of transporting fuel from Pipelines and Products Marketing Company depots to approved zones to ensure a uniform pump price across the country.

The Chief Executive Officer, NMDPRA, Mr Farouk Ahmed, at an interactive session with downstream industry stakeholders on Wednesday in Lagos, said an area of concern was the transporters and payment of their bridging funds.

“Since the last meeting in December, we have paid about N12.7bn to the transporters, and last week Monday, we paid another N10bn. This week, we are paying another N30bn to transporters in a bid to give them respite because of the difficulties they are facing with the economic realities,” he said.

Stakeholders at the meeting included top officials of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Ltd, the Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria and the Depots and Petroleum Products Marketers Association of Nigeria.

According to Ahmed, the delay in the payment of the bridging claims was due to verification of the claims of the transporters by the agency.

“We had to do our due diligence to ensure that those who are owing, we must reconcile before we make the payment. The reconciliation is still ongoing and the more we collect, the more we pay so that we can catch up with the backlog we inherited,” Ahmed said.

On the implementation of the Petroleum Industry Act 2021, he said regulations were being put in place by the Presidential Steering Committee, chaired by the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva.

Ahmed said out of about 38 regulations relating to the NMDPRA, the authority had received about eight draft regulations forwarded to it for review.

He said: “The intention is to review these regulations and invite all the stakeholders to get input because we do not intend to do this alone.

“We need to invite stakeholders to review the regulations before they are put in place because the PIA is here to stay.”

The Group Executive Director, Downstream, NNPC, Mr Adeyemi Adetunji, said NNPC would continue to play its role as an energy supplier of last resort for the country.

He said, “We will continue to ensure that all petroleum products are available. Thankfully, we went through the last festive season (Christmas/New Year) with zero queues in the country.

“So, we thank all the stakeholders in the industry; we thank Nigerians for ensuring that they were able to access petroleum products at all retail stations and outlets.

“NNPC will continue to put in place and supply the market with adequate petroleum products even as we are now NNPC Ltd, a fully commercial company governed by both the PIA and Companies and Allied Matters Act.”

He said the company would continue to subscribe to the highest standards of all the regulations in the industry and collaborate with stakeholders to ensure adequate supply of petroleum products at all times.

On his part, the Chairman, MOMAN, Mr Olumide Adeosun, said a lot of the key issues tabled by the marketers has been addressed.

“Some remain to be addressed and some are work in progress. A case in point over work in progress is the plan that we need to have in place post-announcement of the postponement of the subsidy removal with the PIA,” he said.   PUNCH

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