13 May 2015, Abuja – The Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria on Tuesday restated its complaint that the bridging claims by some of its members had yet to be paid by the Petroleum Equalisation Fund, a development it said had contributed to the petrol scarcity being experienced in the country.The scarcity of the product has yet to abate as queues of desperate motorists continue to grow at the few filling stations selling fuel, with most of them dispensing petrol at between N140 and N200 per litre instead of the regulated price of N87.
The immediate past Executive Secretary of the Petroleum Equalisation Fund Management Board, Mrs. Sharon Kasali, had on Monday said marketers who complained of not receiving their bridging claims were mostly those involved in fraudulent activities.
However, the National President, IPMAN, Mr. Chinedu Okoronkwo, said in a telephone interview with our correspondent on Tuesday that members of the association were still complaining of being owed by PEF.
He said, “If people don’t get money, I don’t know how they can bring in products. That is a major issue they have to solve. There is no reason why we should not be paid that money.
“It is affecting the marketers. Some of them can’t even go and take products again.”
By paying bridging claims to the marketers, PEF makes sure that there is uniform pump prices for petroleum products across the country and ensures that each marketing company complies with the law regarding the management of the transportation equalisation process.
The agency equalises the transportation differentials in white product marketing.
According to the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency, the bridging cost on a litre of Premium Motor Spirit, otherwise known as petrol, is N5.85.
IPMAN has over 20,000 members across the country, with about three per cent of the membership involved in importation of petroleum products, while the others depend largely on products from tank farms and government depots for distribution, according to Okoronkwo.
“When the product is not readily available, it will affect our business,” he said, adding that most of the depots in Lagos were not working due to vandalism.
Asked the actual amount being owned the marketers, he said the association was putting a committee in place to ascertain the total.
Kasali, who spoke at the headquarters of PEF in Abuja on Monday while handing over to her successor, Mrs. Asabe Ahmed, said some marketers had not been paid their bridging claims because their demands were unverified, adding that it was an attempt to defraud the government.