Fuel scarcity looms as marketers threaten strike over unpaid N50bn bridging claims
Northern Independent Petroleum marketers have lamented that the Federal Government through the Petroleum Equalization Fund is yet to settle about N50 billion Bridging Claim for over nine months, an incident that forced many of them out of the business.
The marketers expressed worries that failure to settle their claims may lead to scarcity of fuel in the North as the majority of its members run out of capital, hence could not buy and transport fuel to the region.
This is contained in a statement by the Forum’s chairman, Alhaji Musa Maikifi, and issued to newsmen in Kano on Sunday.
According to the statement, Maikifi made the lamentation during a meeting with the Forum’s members from the nine depots across the Northern states, at Ni’ima Guest Palace in Kano on Saturday.
He said for the past nine months they had made efforts to get their money paid but in vain.
“If this continues in this way so many of us will have to close down our fuel stations. This will add to the fuel scarcity in the region because the marketers have no capital.
“The Federal Government couldn’t settle our claims of over N50 billion. We met the authority involved and they promised to pay us but yet they haven’t. So, that is why we are here to plead with them to pay us our unsettled claims so that we can continue our business smoothly,” he lamented.
According to him, they formed the Northern Independent Petroleum Marketers Forum to always have one voice that will speak on their behalf, adding that the leadership crisis rocking the IPMAN has also added to their burden which their Forum is ready to address.
On his part, the Secretary of the Forum, Alhaji Zarma Mustapha, said the bridging claims were supposed to have been paid within two weeks but for months now they are not settled, and that over 3000 marketers from the north are involved.
“One thing that will surprise you is that this money does not belong to Government. It is generated from the consumers that purchased fuel from us marketers and the NNPC gathered the money and then pay us through PEF. But still they hold our money.
“Presently you can see that there is fuel scarcity here and there in the north, and if we enter January-February without our claims settled, I assure you that we can’t do it, we can’t do the business.”
He urged President Muhammadu Buhari and the l Minister of State for Petroleum to intervene into the matter to help them sustain their business.