BY OKEY NDIRIBE & EMMAN OVUAKPORIE
ABUJA — The House of Representatives Committee on the Downstream Sector of the petroleum industry, yesterday, faulted the huge financial claims by oil marketers on the Petroleum Equalisation Fund, PEF.
Speaking during an investigative hearing by the committee, members of the House queried huge debts the marketers claimed they were still being owed. Chairman of the Committee, Dakuku Peterside, said after scrutinising claims documents submitted by various oil marketers, members of the committee discovered that some of their claims were incredible.
He asked:”How can a single truck make two trips from Lagos to Kano in 24 hours? How can a single truck lift 60,000 litres of fuel at once?”
He further stated that the committee had heard about the activities of marketers who take delivery of petroleum products from Lagos that ought to be delivered to cities in the northern part of the country but end up selling them in the same Lagos but still request payment for bridging, reserved only for marketers who transport their products across long distances.
Peterside also wanted explanation for the huge difference in claims made by some marketers over the years and the rationale for some marketers charging different rates as bridging cost within the same month.
Peterside also expressed surprise that the marketers still claimed they were being owed huge debts despite the fact that the management of PEF insisted they had paid all the outstanding debts.
He assured the marketers that the committee was not out to witch-hunt anybody but only to ensure that Nigerians were not short-changed by the marketers.
In their responses to some of these posers, representatives of the oil marketing firms admitted that some of their claims might have been made in error.