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PEF (M)B: The Silent Contributor to Zero Fuel Queue Strides

-By Fred Ojeigbe

The task of ensuring seamless supply and distribution of petroleum products across the country is usually not achieved without industry-wide collaboration among critical agencies in the oil sector.

Key among these agencies are the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA), the Petroleum Equalisation Fund (Management) Board (PEF(M)B, and even the major and independent marketers.

Findings by Valuechain reveals that while the challenge involved in accessing petroleum products across the country has whittled down as a result of availability at least in the last two years, never in the last decade has the country recorded such an achievement of uninterrupted supply of petroleum products especially during the yuletide. Petroleum products scarcity seems to have now disappeared from filling stations.

Consequent upon this ostensible improvement in fuel supply and distribution is the commendations showered on the NNPC, DPR, PPPRA and astonishingly even private marketers who are considered to play significant roles in the fuel supply and distribution chain.

But hardly is the contribution of one agency, the PEF(MB) ever recognized in the fuel supply and distribution matrix.

Also surprising is the fact even groups like the Nigerian Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO) and the Petroleum Tankers Drivers Branch of the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG), who collaborate with PEF(M)B in the distribution of petroleum products, enjoy stronger goodwill among Nigerians than the PEF(M)B. The reason is not far-fetched.

What does the PEF(M)B do?
The Petroleum Equalisation Fund Management Board PEF(M)B, is a scheduled Parastatal of the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, established by Decree No.9 of 1975 (as amended by Decree No. 32 of 1989 ), which is now an Act of the National Assembly, mainly to administer uniform prices of Petroleum products throughout the Country.

This is achieved by reimbursing a marketer’s transportation differentials for movement of petroleum products from depots to their sales outlets, in order to ensure that products are sold at government approved prices throughout the country. The source of the fund is from the net surplus revenue recovered from oil marketing companies.

The financial flows to the Fund’s account are made up of Bridging Allowance from importers, National Transportation Average and Interests received from investments prior to the introduction of the Treasury Single Account (TSA).

How the agency contributes to zero scarcity
PEF(M)B makes it possible for all Nigerians (nation-wide) from Sokoto to Ikorodu; Owerri to Calabar to Jos to Maiduguri to buy petrol at government approved price.

In terms of how the agency contributes to the zero fuel queues the country currently enjoys, Valuechain has found out that there is hardly any national measure put in place to bolster fuel supply and eliminate the extraneous factors leading to the persistent petrol queues, that the agency is hardly not part of.

Starting from the activation of the “Fuel War Room” which received robust support from relevant regulatory agencies like the DPR, PPPRA, Security agencies, the Petroleum Equalization Fund (PEFMB) has also been known to be active on the platform. The NNPC Fuel Supply War Room was inaugurated on 4th December, 2017 as a Rapid Response Committee to manage the then fuel supply and distribution hiccups that arose at the period. The agency is also part of Operation White, introduced by the Minister of State, Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva.

The agency through persistent scale-up in its monitoring activities and the presence of staff in over 100 depot locations across the country, has contributed to ensuring seamless loading and dispensing of fuel nationwide and to specifically ensure deliveries to designated stations.

The cordial relationship/collaboration between the Board and all its stakeholders has also been instrumental to stifling panic buying, eradicating fuel scarcity. All issues with the National Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO) and other stakeholders are always promptly resolved and there is no pervading circumstance that could affect the transportation of petroleum products in all the depots across the nation. This could be attributed to regular consultations with stakeholders.

The Board, under the visionary leadership of Alhaji Ahmed Bobboi, has been consistent in making payments to marketers, using the Treasury Single Account (TSA) platform, as directed by the Government. The prompt reimbursement of marketers has resulted in new investments in the sector and by and large in stimulating the economy, leading to the creation of more job opportunities and socio-economic development of the country.

Furthermore, the Board developed a bespoke in-house business solution, Project Aquila, a fully transparent and technology-driven process of dispatching and receiving trucks at the depots to reduce leakages in the system and faster processing/payment of claims. The Board is currently working on a full end-to-end system of monitoring delivery of products at the outlets. When fully implemented, the project will help curb diversion as well as generate reliable data for National Planning.

Staff of the Board, are available in all the depots across the country and synergise with other stakeholders to ensure the availability of petroleum products while ensuring that marketers are paid promptly. The Board meets regularly with members of the Major Oil Marketers’ Association of Nigeria (MOMAN), the Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers’ Association of Nigeria (DAPPMA) and Independent Petroleum Marketers’ Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) to discuss various ways of enhancing service delivery.