The Federal Government has paid bridging claims amounting to N22.7 billion to transporters of petroleum products, the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA), disclosed on Wednesday.
The Chief Executive Officer, NMDPRA, Mr Farouk Ahmed, made this known during an interactive session with downstream industry stakeholders in Lagos.
Ahmed added that the government would pay another N30 billion to the transporters before the end of this week to ensure the smooth distribution of petroleum products across the country.
The session had in attendance top officials of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Ltd., the Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria and the Depots and Petroleum Products Marketers Association of Nigeria.
He said: “Another area of concern is the transporters and payment of their bridging funds.
“Since the last meeting in December, we have paid about N12.7 billion to the transporters and on Jan. 24, we paid another N10 billion.
“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.”
He attributed the delay in the payment of the bridging funds, which was paid for transporting petroleum products by road to long distances, to verification of the claims of the transporters by the agency.
“We had to do our due diligence to reconcile before we make the payment.
“The reconciliation is still ongoing and the more we collect, the more we pay, in order to catch up with the backlog we inherited,” Ahmed said.
On the implementation of the Petroleum Industry Act 2021, he said, regulations were being put in place by the Presidential Steering Committee chaired by the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources.
Ahmed noted that out of about 38 regulations that relate to the NMDPRA, the authority had received about eight draft regulations forwarded for review.
He said: “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 because the PIA is here to stay.”
Also, Mr Adeyemi Adetunji, Group Executive Director, Downstream, NNPC Ltd., said that NNPC would play its role as an energy supplier of last resort for the country.
Adetunji said: “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 Companies and Allied Matters Act.”
He said the company would continue to subscribe to the highest standards of all the regulations in the industry and collaborate with stakeholders.
Adeyemi said this was to ensure that Nigerians have adequate and quality flow of petroleum products at all times.
On his part, Mr Olumide Adeosun, Chairman, MOMAN, said a lot of the key issues tabled by the marketers had been addressed.
Adeosun said: “Some are yet to be addressed and some are 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. nan.”