10 May 2015, Abuja — Petroleum Equalisation Fund, PEF, has revealed that it saved more than $2billion through “Project Aquila”, which is a high-tech electronic loading and delivery system introduced by PEF to check leakages in the system as well as enthrone transparency and due process.
The agency’s outgoing Executive Secretary, Mrs. Adefunke Kasali, disclosed this on Thursday in Abuja while handing-over to the new Executive Secretary, Mrs. Asabe Ahmed.
Kasali explained that PEF has been able to check fraudulent activities among petroleum marketers and ensured transparency in the system through the project.
According to her, “The new initiative, also known as ‘e-loading’ ensures the delivery of petroleum products to the right destination.
‘The process has checkmated the annual loss of N15 billion to the activities of some unscrupulous petroleum tanker drivers who engaged in some unethical activities such as diversion of some petroleum products.”
She said that the agency had taken a bold step to eliminate corruption and ensure prompt payment of bridging cost through ‘Project Aquila’, adding that through the initiative PEF had detected and stopped payment of more than N847million in fictitious claims by petroleum marketers.
The former Executive Secretary said the project had also been able to remove encumbrances that normally caused distortions in the supply chain such as the issue of prompt payment of bridging claims.
“Just look at the way we designed the business we saved two billion dollars upfront because we wrote the codes in house and how about all the tens of billions we have saved by people that used to claim’
‘There was a time when we stopped N847 million naira worth of fake ticket and all the ones we have been saving ever since and we thank God for that,” she said
Kasali also refuted claims that the board was underpaying some marketers or delaying their payments, saying that the PEF had been consistent in paying the right claims due to marketers.
This, she explained, was in accordance with their capacity as approved by the Department of Petroleum Resources [DPR].
“Those who are complaining are those that the robust Project Aquila has blocked their old ways of “milking” the system and are uncomfortable with the new measures imposed to check past abuses.
“If any marketer said he was not paid, it means we could not confirm that they were loaded. So, if somebody said his claims have been stocked, it means that they were not loaded.
In her remarks, the new Executive Secretary, Mrs. Asabe Ahmed lauded the achievements of Kasali and said she was going to build on those achievements.
It would be recalled that President Goodluck Jonathan recently approved the appointment of Asabe Ahmed as the new Executive Secretary of PEF.
Until her appointment, she was the Minister of State for Agriculture and Rural Development.
*Chibuzor Emejor – Daily Independent