02 August 2012, Sweetcrude, ABUJA – NIGERIA’s Petroleum Equalisation Fund Management Board, PEFMB, has announced it would commence 100 per cent electronic system of loading of petroleum products by November.
The Executive Secretary of the fund, Mrs Adefunke Kasali, made this known in an interview in Abuja.
She said the project, tagged ‘Project Aquila’, would help to track down fraudulent marketers and enhance prompt payment of marketers’ claims.
“With Project Aquila, the first thing is that there must be a loading and there must be a receiving. One of the things that we have had is an issue where we were never sure that an item that was loaded was received,” she said.
According to Kasali, “In some cases, we even had situations where it was purportedly received, but it was never loaded. Aquila will ensure that there is a genuine transaction; that the product was loaded and was received”.
She stated that “the other thing with Aquila is that the processing of that transaction is now very smooth and efficient and then the payment is done typically under two weeks.”
Kasali said that at least 60 per cent of the depots in the country had been covered since the agency commenced electronic tracking of loading and movement of fuel tankers across the country in April.
According to her also, the agency is working very hard to ensure that all the depots in the country are “Aquila ready’’ by the end of November.
She explained that the project would entail using the latest Radio Frequency Identification, RFID, tag, which would be administered to companies and operators.
Kasali said: “With Aquila we have moved to an end-to-end electronic solution, where it is loaded and dispatched by a mobile computer working with an RFID device.
“So that at each of our depots, our depot representatives have this device, this is the mobile computer part of it and the RFID device,which reads the information.
“On every truck that has registered and has been tagged there is this RFID tag that is affixed on that truck and all the information about that transaction are actually stored on this mobile device.
“This is all that goes on this truck; it is (software) re-writable and so when the transaction is ready, our depot representative reads all the information from our server unto this device and dispatches the truck electronically.”
Kasali said that the new electronic solution would bring more efficiency and effectiveness in determining the volume of petroleum products bridged across the country to facilitate payments.
She described the electronic solution as “the first fully end-to-end operations and payment solutions anywhere in the country”.
The executive secretary said that the new software was designed to
“have little human interference’’ and thereby not vulnerable to manipulation.
“Once a marketer is registered on our database and he comes into our office to do some transactions, all the depot representatives have to do is to just pick that information.
“The truck would have been registered and that information is sitting on the server and in all the devices.
“It’s not subject to a lot of human manipulation and that is the beauty of it,” she said.
Aquila is a Latin word for eagle, a bird renowned for its strength, speed and swiftness.
The project was conceptualised since 2007, but implementation commenced in January this year.