The Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) said it has paid over N58bn to oil marketers as outstanding bridging claims.
It said this in a statement issued on Thursday in response to the threat issued by oil marketers of the possibility of the worst case of fuel scarcity ever in the country.
The Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria had warned that the scarcity could be averted only if the Federal Government prevailed on the NMDPRA to pay N500bn bridging claims by its members.
But reacting to the claim, the Authority stated that the administration of bridging payment is a continuous process as hundreds of trucks load and discharge products daily thereby adding to the claims.
It said that since December 2021, the NMDPRA has made several payments to marketers whose claims have been verified.
It said, “So far, over N58bn has been disbursed to oil marketers out of which about N34 billion went directly to members of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria.
“We wish to stress that the total amount disbursed so far is the highest ever paid within a 6-months span by previous fund administrators, which implies that the reimbursement of marketer’s transportation differentials for petroleum products movement from depots to sales outlets is a priority to the NMDPRA.
“In addition, Freight Rates were recently reviewed upwards to reflect current market realities and stimulate investments in the transportation of petroleum products in the country to ensure uninterrupted distribution.
“It is pertinent to note that some of the pending payments is due to the reluctance of marketers to reconcile their claims, in spite of the Authority’s continuous appeal to come for reconciliation whenever there are discrepancies.”
The Authority assured that the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Ltd has sufficient Premium Motor Spirit to last over 47 days, translating to about 2.65 billion litres.
It urged the public not to panic as the current situation being experienced in some parts of the country will soon stabilise.
“To address this, some loading depots have been directed to operate on extended hours to enable increased truck-out. In the interim, the vessel discharge operations have been reviewed to fast-track truck loading and distribution in order to meet increased demand.
“We wish to state that the Authority remains committed to honour and process legitimate and verified bridging claims to ensure product availability nationwide,” it added.