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Shutdown Looms! Northern Independent Petroleum Marketers threaten shutdown of activities over N250 billion



Chairman of the Northern Independent Petroleum Marketers Forum (NIPMF), Musa Yahya Maikifi, raised concerns about the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) owing the forum over N250 billion in outstanding bridging claims for the past year. He expressed these worries during a meeting in Kano state on Thursday, July 27.

Maikifi emphasized that the non-payment of these claims would have a significant impact on petroleum distribution across all Northern states. Members of the forum are struggling to afford the transportation and supply of petroleum products to various outlets.

Adding to the concern, the forum’s Secretary, Jarma Mustapha, highlighted the challenges they face due to the new deregulation regime. Their capital was previously tied up with the defunct Petroleum Equalization Fund (PEF). As the cost of doing business skyrocketed, they are now urging President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to intervene and ensure that all outstanding claims, up to May 30, 2023, are paid promptly. This financial support is crucial for their members to sustain their operations and stay in business.

Mustapha explained that bridging claims are typically contributed by consumers and collected by marketers, then paid to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Limited (NNPCL). The NNPCL, in turn, collects and pays into the collective fund of the Equalization Fund, which is not government-budgeted but financed by consumers to equalize prices nationwide.

While the forum plans to pursue diplomatic means to access the funds, they cannot guarantee its sustainability. If the situation persists, they may have no choice but to withdraw their services, leading to an impending shutdown of fuel distribution in the Northern states. This would be a last resort, as they value their role in the economy and do not wish to resort to strikes. However, they appeal to the government to consider their support for deregulation policies and take necessary actions to resolve the current financial challenges.

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