Fuel Scarcity Looms Again As Oil Marketers Threaten Nationwide Strike

Fuel Scarcity Will Persist Till After Elections, Says Marketers

Nigeria may experience another fuel scarcity in a few days’ time. This is as oil marketers threaten to embark on strike in protest of the 12 months bridging claims being owed operators in the downstream oil sector.

The Federal Government had through its Nigeria Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA), disclosed that it paid N74 billion as bridging claims to oil marketers.

According to the NMDPRA, the N74 billion payment was made for the transportation of petroleum products across the country in seven months.

“So far, the authority paid N71,233,712,991 bridging claims and another N2,736,179,950.84 freight differentials to marketers as of June 6, 2022,” the NMDPRA had stated.

BizWatch Nigeria understands that the NMDPRA made this claim in reaction to allegations made by the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), Suleja Branch, who blamed the fuel scarcity on the non-payment of bridging claims.

Countering the claim credited to the Chief Executive of NMDPRA, Farouk Ahmed, the Secretary, Abuja-Suleja IPMAN, Mohammed Shuaibu, whose unit covers Abuja, Kogi, Niger, and parts of Nasarawa and Kaduna states, accused the former of sabotaging marketers’ efforts by not making the payments.

“He (Ahmed) alleged he has paid marketers N74bn right? We have accused him of sabotaging our efforts by not paying us our bridging claims and that is the fact.

“Since he claims to have paid, we are not arguing but we challenge him to come out and name the marketers that he paid. Let him explain from A to Z. Let him bring out the documents. If you say you have paid our members N74bn, and we say we’ve not been paid, then come out and explain to the public,” Shuaibu stated.

“Anyway, by the time we down-tool fully within the next one week, he will explain to the public and the presidency how the situation got to that level because this one is going to lead to the mother of all queues.

“You are owing a marketer, for example, N30 million or N20 million, you paid him N150,000 or N200,000 and you now go on air to say you have paid the marketer. Is there any justification to that effect?” he queried.

Corroborating Shuaibu’s claims, National President, Natural Oil, and Gas Suppliers Association, Bennett Korie explained that marketers are paid bridging claims due to long distances which their trucks transport products to.

He added that the alarmingly high cost of diesel has also worsened the situation for them.

“Now, not just that, the roads are bad and the maintenance of trucks is becoming too high for marketers. If you go round now you will see that 75% of filling stations in Nigeria have gone out of business.

“There is no diesel to take fuel to their stations. All of them are going down. And it is not that the fuel is not there, but the cost of bringing it to the stations is too high,” Korie explained.