Nigerian oil marketers on Wednesday in Abuja cried out over their $10 billion trapped in the scrapped Federal Government-owned Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), Petroleum Equalisation Fund Management Board (PEFMB), and Petroleum Product Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA).
The oil marketers warned that unless their funds are recovered from the three scrapped government agencies, their obligations to the country might be completely jeopardized.
The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, had on Monday announced that the three defunct agencies have transited to newly introduced Nigerian Upstream Regulatory Commission and the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Authority as parts of fall out of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA).
A statement containing the agony of the oil marketers was signed by their President, Chief Chinedu Okoronko, and made available to our correspondent in Abuja on Wednesday.
While lamenting the sudden scrapping of the agencies, the oil marketers, operating under the aegis of Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, IPMAN, said that its members, who have huge sums with the three defunct agencies, were taken by surprise by the government’s action.
The oil marketers expressed disgust at how the Federal Government resorted to scrapping the three agencies without adequate consultations with critical stakeholders and vowed to have their over $10 billion recovered with due process.
As the first step to get its members’ trapped fund recovered, IPMAN said that it has engaged the services of a consultant to the association, Mauritz Walton Nig. Ltd, with a mandate to reconcile and recover its funds trapped in the defunct agencies vis-a-vis the Federal Government.
IPMAN lamented that its members are always at the receiving end whenever there is a change of policy in the petroleum industry, adding that by scrapping the three agencies on October 18, members’ funds running into tens of billions of dollars are trapped.
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It stressed the need for urgent reconciliation of the huge sum of money to avert a major crisis in the sector, adding it has appointed a forensic expert to help in reconciliation and recovery of the money.
“In view of our past experience by virtue of the enomous amount of money being owed by the federal government vis-a-vis DPR, PEFMB and PPPRA, IPMAN has engaged the services of Mauritz Walton Nig. Ltd, to reconcile and recover the product differential between IPMAN and federal government,” the statement said.
IPMAN said Mauritz Walton will appropriately liase with the Federal Government with a view of reconciling product differential lasting several years and running into billions of naira.
According to the association, Mauritz Walton Nig. Ltd, is a forensic expert and globally acclaimed financial consultant, the progenitor of Paris Club Refund, a project that helped recover over $20 billion for state governments in Nigeria.
The association promised to make a more detailed statement to its members and to the general public in due course.
Group Executive Officer and Managing Director of Mauritz Walton Nig. Ltd, Dr. Maurice Ibe said he will be bringing his expertise in forensic financial consultancy to bear on the assignment.
Dr. Ibe stated that the consultancy firm will review all information, records, invoices and documentation from IPMAN members with a view to determining the amount owed and what is recoverable. He promised to shed more light on the development at the appropriate time.
Before the latest development, the DPR monitored fuel stations across the country to ensure products are not hoarded among other functions while PEFMB was the special intervention put in place by the government to ensure products are sold at approved prices.
PPPRA, on the other hand, was saddled with the responsibility to determine the pricing policy and regulate the supply and distribution of petroleum products, among others.