12 March 2014, Abuja – The Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) has revealed that the fuel scarcity being experienced in the country was due to the federal government’s refusal to pay its members for imported products since the third quarter (Q3) of 2013, forcing them to stop further importation.
This was disclosed yesterday in Abuja by IPMAN national president Aminu Abdulkadir while briefing journalists during the Central Working Committee (CWC) meeting of the association.
He said its members were now dependent on imports by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
According to Abdulkadir, marketers are being owed part-payment of imports made in Q3 2013, while they have not been paid at all for imports made in Q4 2013 and Q1 2014, a situation that has forced them to stop importation as they have gone insolvent.
He explained that there is presently a supply gap because the template of the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) only allow the NNPC to import 50 per cent of fuel consumed in the country while marketers, of which IPMAN members account for 87 per cent, import the remaining 50 per cent.
He said: “There are problems of payments and the way out is for the Ministry of Finance to act as quickly as possible. There is nobody that will do a job that is not being paid that will continue. The only way out is for the Ministry of Finance to commence payment of part of last year Q3, Q4 and this year Q1.
“With that the NNPC pressure will be reduced because, from the design of the template at the PPPRA, NNPC can supply 50 per cent of the product into the country;the rest of us marketers augment the balance of 50 per cent.”
While denying that products’ diversion was responsible for the scarcity, Abdulkadir said “all are legal diversion; if you make product available to Abuja and you have not made it available to Kano, Lokoja and Kaduna are they not Nigerians or are they coming to queue in Abuja?”
He, however, assured that its members have been instructed to prudently distribute the little product NNPC is injecting, adding: “We have done our best. Let them pay Q4 and Q1, then marketers will have the solvency to import and augment what NNPC is bringing.”