Fuel shortages set to escalate as IPMAN warns of nationwide supply reduction.

The ongoing shortage of petroleum products could escalate in the near future, as the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) has indicated its intention to cease all services, shut down its distribution outlets operated by members, and halt further product distribution until the Federal Government addresses its demands.

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IPMAN is insisting on the full settlement of a purported N200 billion debt owed by the Federal Government to its members as a prerequisite for resuming product lifting and distribution activities.

Oliver Okolo, the unit chairman of the Aba depot, speaking on behalf of the IPMAN Depot Chairmen Forum in Abuja on Tuesday expressed frustration over the situation that debt has resulted in the demise of numerous members and the bankruptcy of their enterprises.

“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 members’ 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.

It is also disheartening to note that some of our members have completely shut down their businesses and retrenched their employees as we can no longer pay salaries. We have also watched with apprehension, the unpatriotic attitude of the leadership of the NMDPRA to offset this debt that has 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,” Okolo said.

He expressed dismay that banks have seized the business premises of certain members, noting that instead of receiving government support to enhance their businesses, members were being disheartened by the actions of the NMDPRA.

Okolo also criticized the increase in fees for obtaining and renewing sales and storage licenses by the NMDPRA, along with the resulting delays in obtaining these licenses.

“As IPMAN members, we are also calling on President Bola Tinubu, to closely look into this unwholesome figure which is highly detrimental to our business and reverse it forthwith, as it is bound to impact negatively on the masses thereafter. We see no reason why there should be an increment of over 500 percent on the sales and storage licence by the NMDPRA. This is outright wickedness, and highly detrimental to our businesses. We reject it.

“We also hereby call on the Federal Government of Nigeria to wholly intervene forthwith in these lingering issues between IPMAN and NMDPRA.

“We are poised to take far-reaching decisions that may cripple the supply and sales of petroleum products across Nigeria if our demands are not met within the shortest period. We are appealing to President Bola Tinubu, to please intervene in this quagmire that we have been subjected to by the NMDPRA.

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