By Obas Esiedesa
The Federal Government has paid petroleum marketers over N58 billion as bridging cost in the past five months.
The Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) who disclosed this in Abuja yesterday, explained that out of the amount, N34 billion went directly to members of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN).
The disclosure came a day after IPMAN threatened to shut down petroleum product distribution across the country over N500 billion debts owed them as bridging cost.
NMDPRA stated: “Administration of bridging payment is a continuous process as hundreds of trucks load and discharge products daily thereby adding to the claims”.
It stated further: “Since December 2021, the NMDPRA has made several payments to marketers whose claims have been verified. So far, over N58 billion has been disbursed to oil marketers.
“We wish to stress that the total amount disbursed so far is the highest ever paid within a 6-months span by previous fund administrators, which implies that the reimbursement of marketer’s transportation differentials for petroleum products movement from depots to sales outlets is a priority to the NMDPRA.
“In addition, 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.
“It is pertinent to note that some of the pending payments is due to the reluctance of marketers to reconcile their claims, in spite of the Authority’s continuous appeal to come for reconciliation whenever there are discrepancies”, it stated.