To sustain the supply of premium motor spirit (PMS) in the country, the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) has stated that it has paid over N22 billion as part of the backlog owed to petroleum products transporters in the country.
According to the Authority Chief Executive, NMDPRA, Farouk Ahmed, there are plans to pay another N30 billion this week to the petroleum products’ transporters, saying that the move was to bring respite to cushion the effect of the difficulties faced with economic realities.
The debt to petroleum product marketers had skyrocketed in the past three months following the scrapping of the Petroleum Equalisation Fund Board, whose responsibility to settle the transportation cost of petrol has been assumed by the newly created NMDPRA.
At an interactive session with stakeholders in the oil and gas industry, Ahmed added that the N22 billion paid so far has surpassed the whole of payment made in 2021, adding that the authority would deploy due diligence before making another set of payments to the transporters.
He stressed: “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.
“If you add the N30 billion we are planning to pay this week, the whole payment made so far would be N52.7 billion for the PMS bridging fund and this payment is ongoing and as they transport, we pay. When we came in, we wanted to ensure that we did 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.”
He noted that the reconciliation is still ongoing, stressing that as they get more funds, such would be disbursed to clear up the inherited backlog.
“The truckers said they cannot move their trucks because of lack of payment, but we did not make payment promptly when we came because we had to do a reconciliation before doing another set of payments,” he added.
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, Timipre Sylva.
He added that out of the 38 regulations that relate to authority, the Authority has so far received about eight regulations 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 averred.
Also speaking, the Group Executive Director, Downstream, Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Limited, Yemi Adetunji, said NNPC will continue to ensure that all petroleum products would be available.
He stated all through the festive period in 2021, there were zero queues across the country, commending all the stakeholders in the industry for the achievement.
“NNPC will continue to put in place and supply the market with adequate petroleum products even as it is now NNPC Ltd, a commercial company governed by both the PIA and CAMA.
“We have had a fruitful engagement with the authority’s chief executive and all the stakeholders in the downstream oil and gas industry. NNPC Limited 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.
“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,” he stressed.
The Chairman, Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN), Olumide Adeosun, said a lot of the key issues that had been tabled have been addressed, while the other issues work 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,” he added.