THE Petroleum Equalisation Fund Management Board (PEFMB) has blacklisted 12 petroleum marketers fingered for trying to cheat government by seeking payment of ‘bridging payment’.
the nation’s major oil marketers have refuted reports of their being
fully paid arrears of verified claims for this year.
Manager, Corporate Services of PEFMB, Goddy Nnadi, disclosed to The
Guardian Tuesday, that the marketers, currently being investigated, have
been banned from all bridging and equalisation transactions for the
next six months.
According to Nnadi, all the directors of the
companies have also been barred, and will not be accepted under
different company names.
He added: “Staff of the blacklisted
companies were fingered in the stealing of tags affixed on petroleum
tankers under the acclaimed project Aquila; meant to monitor the loading
and delivery of products.
He noted that out of the 12
marketers found wanting, the agency has convicted one of them and would
not hesitate to clamp down on marketers who engage in sharp practices.
Nnadi who put the number of petroleum marketers at over 6,000, assured
that the agency would ensure that it eradicate the unwholesome act.
“The board, worried by the theft of the tags, had started massive
sensitisation to warn marketers of the dangers of the theft of the tag
issued free. It has therefore, imposed penalties for the loss of tags,
and as introduced new process for the registration and tagging of
trucks. “Marketers with damaged tags will pay a replacement fee of N50,
000 and those who lose the tags will pay N50,000. Tagging of new trucks
will continue to be free. The board is collaborating with security
agencies to ensure full prosecution of offending marketers, who if found
guilty in the law courts, will be blacklisted and their names published
in the media”, he stated.
Project Aquila was introduced to
combat the high incidence of fraud in the movement of petroleum products
around the country, which involves electronic monitoring of product
distribution from depots to points of discharge.
Every year over
N17 billion is paid to petroleum products transporters from the
Petroleum Equalisation Fund, for distributing products nationwide, and
this amount is built into every litre of products purchased by
The Fund is intended to plug the gap ensuring that
uniform petroleum products prices are maintained throughout the country.
Unfortunately, the system has been prone to abuse and the electronic
monitoring system was brought in to make it easier to monitor the
distribution of products.
The major oil marketers refutal over
claims of subsidy payment was against the backdrop of a press report
where the government was said to have paid all verified claims for
subsidy this year.
Officials of the concerned oil companies, who
spoke to The Guardian on condition of anonymity, affirmed that the
government still owed N50 billion subsidy areas, as at yesterday.
The marketers, have however, reiterated their resolve to stop fuel
importation, should the government delay further in offsetting subsidy
claims for 2013.
The Ministry of Finance announced on Monday,
that it had released N48 billion as payments to 25 oil marketers to
cover verified subsidy claims.
The ministry, in a statement
signed by Special Adviser to the Coordinating Minister for the Economy
and Minister of Finance, Paul Nwabuikwu, said with the release of the
funds, the Federal Government had paid a total of N240.5 billion to fuel
marketers in 2013.
According to the ministry, before the latest
payment, a total of N192.50 billion in verified claims had been settled
Nwabuikwu listed the 25 oil marketing companies to
include Aiteo Energy Resources Limited, Ascon Oil Company Limited,
Conoil Plc, Dee Jones Petroleum & Gas Limited, Dozzy Oil And Gas
Limited, Forte Oil Plc, Fresh Synergy Limited, Gulf Treasures Limited,
Integrated Oil and Gas Limited, IPMAN Investment Limited, Masters
Energy Oil and Gas Limited, Mobil Oil Nigeria Plc, NIPCO Plc, Oando
Plc, Rainoil Limited, Sahara Energy Resources Limited, Swift Oil
Limited, Techno Oil Limited and Total Nigeria Plc.
Bovas & Company, Heyden Petroleum, MRS Oil Nigeria Plc, Rahamaniyya
Oil And Gas Limited, Obat Oil & Petroleum Limitedand Shorelink Oil
and Gas Services Limited.
But the oil marketers told The
Guardian that the said amount claimed to have been paid by the Federal
Government, was subsidy arrears for the previous years, saying that the
government is yet to make subsidy payment for the first quarter of 2013.
Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN), Obafemi Olawore, at
a press briefing last week, said the 2013 subsidy claims for major
markers stood at about N50 billion, of which only N9.4 billion was paid
last month. The amount, according to him, excluded the huge interest
payments the marketers still had to pay their respective banks.
In view of the delay in paying outstanding claims and rising bank
interest rates, he said, it had become very difficult for the marketers
to continue imports of fuel.
Details of the subsidy outstanding
claims by MOMAN members, revealed that Oando has total outstanding
claims of N26.736 billion; MRS, N8.506 billion; Mobil, N8.523 billion;
Forte, N7.747 billion; Conoil, N6.357 billion; and Total, N7.221
Mobil has not been paid all its outstanding claims for
2011 and 2012 imports, while some of the firm’s outstanding interest
payments to banks were yet to be settled.
Olawore said the delay in payment of 2012 and 2013 subsidy claims had as at June attracted an interest of N13.1 billion.
The executive secretary noted that the delay in subsidy payments was
also causing untold disruption to the operations of major marketers,
adding that the volume of products imported by marketers had continued
-------Roseline Okere, Guardian Nigeria, Tuesday July 16, 2013