From Desmond Mgboh, Kano
Independent Petroleum Marketers in the North may shut down their operations across the country following an unfavorable business environment occasioned by the failure of the Petroleum Equalization Fund (PEF) to implement its responsibilities as provided by law.
The petroleum marketers, who met in Kano at the weekend, consisted of all the leading players in the industry such as the proprietors of AA Rano Oil, Aliko Oil, Shafa Oil, Maikifi Oil, AMANSCO as well as the depot managers of Jos, Gombe, Kaduna, Gusau, Kano, Yobe, Maiduguri among other several other embittered stakeholders.
In a communique issued on Sunday and signed by Auwalu Rimi and Audu Manager for the Northern IPMAN Stakeholders Forum, the petroleum marketers in the region insisted on the immediate payment of all their outstanding claims by the Petroleum Equalisation Fund (PEF) running into several hundreds of millions of Naira.
They , in addition, demanded, “An overhaul of Aquilla II processes to ensure that payment of claims no longer exceeds 48 hours as it was originally designed.
The independent oil marketers stakeholders forum also sought the strict compliance with the enabling law of PEF Management Board Act No. 9 of 1975.
As a matter of urgency they sought, “immediate implementation of the planned 26 per cent increase in the Freight Rate as agreed to mitigate rising truck maintenance costs and payment of the accumulated arrears”.
The oil marketers warned that failure of the relevant authorities to take drastic steps to address the issues would leave them with no other option but to withdraw their services nationwide.
Earlier in the same communique, they had lamented the current situation in which the operation of PEF had led to untold hardship for their members and created a huge crisis in the business of petroleum marketing in the land- locked-Northwest and Northeast regions.