Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) says it has so far paid over N58 billion to oil marketers as bridging claims.
NMDPRA said out of the N58 billion, about N34 billion went directly to members of Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN).
A statement issued on Thursday by the General Manager, Corporate Communications, NMDPRA, Mr Kimchi Apollo, stated that since December 2021, NMDPRA had made several payments to marketers whose claims had been verified.
IPMAN had claimed that the Federal Government owed its members N500 billion as bridging claims, also known as transportation claims.
IPMAN had also urged the government to pay marketers their bridging claims to enable them begin lifting petroleum products from the depots, to address the current fuel scarcity currently being experienced in some parts of the country.
The Association of Distributors and Transporters of Petroleum Products (ADITOP) had also called on the authority to increase the freight rate being given to petroleum transporters to suit current realities.
Reacting to this, Apollo said that the authority had taken note of the concerns raised by some oil marketers over their outstanding bridging claims.
Apollo, while noting that so far it had disbursed over N58 billion, said that the administration of bridging payment was a continuous process, as hundreds of trucks load and discharge products daily, thereby adding to the claims.
“We wish to stress that the total amount disbursed so far is the highest ever paid within a six-month span by previous fund administrators.
“This implies that the reimbursement of marketers’ transportation differentials for petroleum products movement from depots to sales outlets is a priority to NMDPRA,” he said.
Also, the general manager said that the freight rates were recently reviewed upwards to reflect current market realities and stimulate investments in the transportation of petroleum products in the country to ensure uninterrupted distribution.
He noted that some of the pending payments were due to the reluctance of marketers to reconcile their claims, in spite of the authority’s continuous appeal for them to come for reconciliation whenever there were discrepancies.
Furthermore, he assured the public that NNPC Limited had sufficient PMS to last over 47 days, translating into about 2.65 billion litres.
“Therefore, there is no need to panic, as the current situation being experienced in some parts of the country will soon stabilise.
“To address this, some loading depots have been directed to operate on extended hours to enable increased truck-out.
“In the interim, the vessel discharge operations have been reviewed to fast-track truck loading and distribution in order to meet increased demand.
“We wish to state that the authority remains committed to honour and process legitimate and verified bridging claims to ensure product availability nationwide,” he said.