By Prince Okafor
The Federal Government yesterday, disclosed that between December 2021 and February 2022, it has paid a total of N52.7 billion as bridging claims to the transporter.
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA), Engr Farouk Ahmed made this disclosure in Lagos during an engagement meeting with the downstream stakeholders.
The authority had stated that the Federal Government will continue to pay the cost of bridging petrol to ensure its availability across the country.
However, while speaking to newsmen, Ahmed noted that another area of concern is the transporters and payment of their bridging funds and since the last meeting of December, we have paid about N12.7 billion to the transporters and last week Monday, we paid another N10 billion and this week we are paying another N30 billion to transporters in a bid to give them respite because of the difficulties they are facing with the economic realities.
“In total, we have paid N52.7 billion for bridging fund and this payment is ongoing and as they transport, we pay.
“When we came in, we wanted to ensure that we do our due diligence before payment was done. What we paid in December has surpassed the whole of the payment made in 2021.
“We had to do our due diligence to ensure that those who are owing, we must reconcile before we make the payment. The reconciliation is still ongoing and the more we collect, the more we pay so that we can catch up with the backlog we inherited.”
He said regarding the PIA, regulations are being put in place by the Presidential steering committee chaired by the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources where about 38 regulations that relate to authority, we have received about eight truck regulations that have been forwarded to the authority for review.
“The intention is to review these regulations and invite all the stakeholders to get input because we do not intend to do this alone. We need to invite stakeholders to review the regulations before they are put in place,” he added.
The Group Executive Director, Downstream, Nigerian National Petroleum Company, NNPC Limited, Mr Adeyemi Adetunji, stated that “We have had a fruitful engagement with the authority’s chief executive and all the stakeholders in the downstream oil and gas industry.
“NNPC Ltd. continues to play its role as an energy supplier of last resort for the country. We will continue to ensure that all petroleum products are available.
“Thankfully we went through the last festive season (Christmas/ New Year) with zero queues in the country. So we thank all the stakeholders in the industry, we thank Nigerians for ensuring that they were able to access petroleum products at all retail stations and outlets.
“NNPC will continue to put in place and supply the market with adequate petroleum products even as we are now NNPC Ltd., a fully commercial company governed by both the PIA and CAMA.
“We will also continue to play our role as a responsible player and subscribe to the highest standards of all the regulations in the industry. We will continue to collaborate with all to ensure that Nigerians have adequate and quality flow of petroleum products at all times.”
On his part, the Chief Executive Officer, Ardova Plc, and Chairman, Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN), Mr Olumide Adeosun, stated that “A lot of the key issues that we tabled have been addressed. Some remain to be addressed and some are works in progress.
“A case in point over work in progress is the plan that we need to have in place post-announcement of the postponement of the subsidy removal with the PIA.”