By ABDULLAHI YAKUBU, Kano
The Northern Independent Petroleum Marketers Forum has frown at the way and manner the Petroleum Equalisation Fund (PEF) Board is fast becoming the bane to the development of the downstream sector by imposing unnecessary measures to stampede the efforts of its members in carrying out their legitimate business unperturbed across the country.
The forum made this known in a communique signed by Alhaji Auwalu Rimi and Alhaji Audu,manager issued at the end of their inaugural meeting held at the Bristol Hotel in Kano, yesterday.
The forum also lamented the current situation in which the operation of the PEF board has caused it members untold hardship and crisis in the business of Petroleum Marketing especially in the land locked Northwest and Northeast regions.
The forum said the independent petroleum marketers since inception has grown tremendously nationwide to now constitute about 85% of the operations in the downstream sector responsible for even haulage distribution of petroleum products throughout the country.
It said it was for these reasons that “the Northern Independent Petroleum Marketers Forum was conceived to protect such interest.’’
The Forum outlined the prevailing adverse operations of PEF to include “Persistent, Illegal and unexplained deductions in their claims without queries and despite PEF issuing acknowledgement to confirm the veracity of acute delays in making payments that often span an average 6 months causing avoidable financial embarrassment to it’s members
The forum also posited that many who have become insolvent, Inefficient and the gross ineptitude of the PEF Operational Staff negating the benefits of the Multi Million Naira AQUILLA II technology Resolutions”
The Forum finally passed these resolutions that the immediate payment of all outstanding claims overhaul of Aquilla II processes to ensure payment of claims no longer exceed 48 hrs as it was originally designed.
Besides, the Forum calls for strict compliance with the enabling law of PEF Management Board Act No. 9 of 1975. As well as the immediate implementation of the planned 26 per cent increase in the Freight Rate as agreed to mitigate rising truck maintainancce costs and payment of the accumulated arrears.
Failure to take drastic steps on the issues raised in its resolutions will leave the Forum with no choice but to withdraw its services.
The Forum also acknowledges the role played by President Muhammad Buhari, GCFR as the founding father of the Independent Petroleum Marketers when he advocated the establishment of the body to ensure availability of petroleum products to all nook and cranny of the Country during his tenure as the Federal Commissioner for Petroleum Resources.
Due to the laudable objectives behind Petroleum Equalisation Fund Management Board, the Forum would not seat by and allow it became a caricature of itself.