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.
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.
The oil marketers warned that failure of the relevant authorities to take drastic steps to address the issues they raised 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 to their members and created a huge crisis in the business of petroleum marketing in the land- locked-Northwest and Northeast regions.
They accused the Petroleum Equalisation Fund (PEF) of engaging in ” a culture of persistent, Illegal and unexplained deductions in their claims without queries and despite PEF issuing acknowledgement to confirm the veracity”
They highlighted the acute delays in making their payments, saying that these delays often lapse over a period of an average of six months before payments are made, a situation they said result in avoidable financial embarrassment to their members, many of whom had become insolvent on account of this.
They generally condemned the operational inefficiency and gross ineptitude of the PEF operational staff, stressing that this inefficiency had since undermined the expected benefits of the multi- million Naira AQUILLA II technology.
Sources at the stakeholders meeting told Daily Sun that the younger elements among the Independent Petroleum Marketers had rooted for a total shutdown of the services while the more elderly ones opted to issue a final warning, a failure to which they would shut their stations and embark on strike.