July 18, 2024

The Northern Independent Petroleum Marketers Forum said its members would embark on a strike if the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) fails to pay them over N250 billion outstanding bridging claims.

The chairperson of the forum, Musa Maikifi, in a press conference on Thursday in Kano, said the forum’s members are being owed over N250 billion bridging claims.

Mr Maikifi said the bridging claims represent the cost of transporting fuel from pipelines and product marketing company depots to approved zones to ensure a uniform pump price across the country.

The forum comprises nine depots in the north of the country – Kano, Kaduna, Suleja, Minna, Jos, Maiduguri, Gombe and Yola depots.

He said the delay in paying them was threatening their businesses as some of their members could not afford to supply petroleum and sell it at various outlets.

According to the forum, the money, if paid, would be utilised by their members to sustain their business.

Mr Maikifi said the failure of the government to pay the amount on time would affect the transportation of the fuel to the entire northern states.

Also speaking at the event, the secretary of the forum, Jarma Mustapha, said there were other outstanding bridging claims since the defunct Petroleum Equalization Fund that have still not been paid.

“We have outstanding bridging claims up to the day when the end of the deregulation was announced by the new President (Bola Tinubu).

“As the new deregulation regime started now, we are faced with difficulties such as lack of capacity and lack of capital to continue our business because most of our capital was hanged with the defunct Petroleum Equalization Fund.

“We are now calling on President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to intervene so that the whole of our outstanding claims, up to the 30th May 2023, when the new deregulation was announced, should be paid for our members to continue getting enough capital to continue being in business.

“Almost all of our members are going out of business. Based on that, we are appealing to the President to intervene, talk to the authorities concerned to immediately pay all our outstanding claims,” Mustapha appealed.

“The money used to pay for the bridging claims is the one contributed by the consumers, which is collected by the marketers, pay to NNPC, NNPC collects and pays into the collective fund of the Equalization Fund.

“That money is not budgeted, which is financed by the government. It is financed by the consumers through the marketers, basically to equalise prices across the country,” Mr Mustapha said.

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