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Monday, May 20, 2024


More Fuel Scarcity Looms In Nigeria As Independent Petroleum Marketers Threaten Strike

The Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) have threatened to go on strike if their outstanding debt of N187 billion bridging claims are not paid to its members.

The association is the union of long distance haulage tankers, the nerve of the distribution network of oil energy products across the Nigerian federation.

In a communique read by its Aba Depot Chairman, Mazi Oliver Okolo, during IPMAN’s press briefing on Tuesday, the association said they will commence the service withdrawal any time from now that the 40-day grace period they agreed to in their meeting with Petroleum Resources Minister Heineken Lokpobiri in February 2024 have elapsed.

IPMAN Members Going Bankrupt Over Debt

He said despite the minister’s directive to the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NMDPRA) to settle the N200 billion bridging claims, IPMAN members have received only a meager N13 billion of the total sum, leaving an outstanding N187 billion still unpaid.

Several IPMAN members, he said, are consequently struggling financially and some already out of business.

We have watched with apprehension also, the unpatriotic attitude of the leadership of the NMDPRA to offset this debt that has been accrued to us since September 2022. As businessmen and women, our members acquired bank loans to keep their fuel retail outlets running daily across the nooks and crannies of Nigeria, to serve the teeming population of Nigerians”.

Mazi Okolo said his union found the situation “demoralizing” to see some of its members going “bankrupt and have become financially insolvent as a result of their inability to meet their financial obligations to their banks”.

He claimed “banks have taken over the business premises of many of our members

If IPMAN’s threat comes true, the already precarious situation with fuel shortages experienced in most parts of Nigeria could get worse and further threaten the already fragile economy.

Demand For Presidential Intervention

Fuel – Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) prices have soared nationwide, in some places reaching as high as N800 per liter, and N1,400 in the black market. Before removal of subsidies by the Bola Tinubu administration just a year ago, pump price of PMS was merely N180 per liter.

The organization is demanding presidential intervention over the situation, warning flatly, “We are poised to take far-reaching decisions that may cripple the supply and sales of petroleum products across Nigeria, if our demands are not met within the shortest period,” it stated.

NNPC To Be Blamed For Current Shortages

IPMAN also put the blame for the current fuel shortages squarely at the feet of Nigeria’s prime oil company, Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL).

It said it was unhelpful that NNPC is the sole importer of petroleum products into the country. They accuse NNPC of deliberately imposing exorbitant prices on IPMAN members. These high prices, coupled with additional transport costs, hinder their ability to sell petrol at the agreed-upon pump price.

We see no reason why there should be an increment of over 500% on the Sales and Storage License by the NMDPRA. We totally reject it.”

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Dominic Ojielo
Dominic Ojielohttps://joliba.com.ng
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