₦200bn Debt: Petrol Marketers threaten withdrawal of services amid fuel scarcity

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The Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), has threatened to cripple the supply of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), also known as petrol, over non-payment of ₦200bn bridging claims. The threat comes following current nationwide scarcity which has seen prices of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), also known as petrol, surge to between N610 and N800 at the pump, and between N1000 and N1200 at black market.

The association’s Unit Chairman and Spokesperson, Aba Depot, Mazi Oliver Okolo who made the threat, said it was with the backing of the IPMAN’s national leadership. He claimed that the debt is being owed by the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NMDPRA). In a communique released after a press conference on Tuesday, Okolo said NMDPRA failed to pay the ₦200bn debt despite a directive for payment from the Petroleum Minister (Oil) Heineken Lokpobiri.

The IPMAN deport Chairman claimed that since the directive by the minister in February 2024, only ₦13bn had been paid to their members, saying that the unpaid claim had crippled their businesses. “We are extremely distressed and depressed by the laidback attitude of the leadership of the Nigerian Midstream Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA), towards the survival of our member’s businesses, arising from NMDPRA’s deliberate delay and refusal to offset the debt of over N200 Billion owed our members, which has consequently led to the deaths of many of our members and the unfortunate collapse of their businesses.”

He blamed the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL), the sole importer of petroleum products, for the current nationwide petrol scarcity, adding that some of its members have “completely” shut down their businesses, and retrenched their employees.

“We have watched with apprehension also, the unpatriotic attitude of the leadership of the NMDPRA to offset this debt that has been accrued to us since September 2022. As businessmen and women, our members acquired bank loans to keep their fuel retail outlets running daily across the nooks and crannies of Nigeria, to serve the teeming population of Nigerians. However, it is demoralising to know that many of our members have gone bankrupt and have become financially insolvent as a result of their inability to meet their financial obligations to their banks, arising wholly from their inability to get their monies from the NMDPRA. Consequently, also, the banks have taken over the business premises of many of our members. As indigenous organisations, and Depot Chairmen, we are unhappy that rather than receiving support from the government to boost our businesses, we are being discouraged, by the head of NMDPRA.

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