The Petroleum Products Pricing and Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) has said henceforth, the condition for processing the Sovereign Debt Statement (SDS), the payment advice it issues to petroleum marketing companies under the Petroleum Support Fund (PSF) scheme will be dependent on at least 80 per cent truck-out compliance by the marketers.
PPPRA in this regard Tuesday warned oil marketing companies operating under the PSF scheme to adhere strictly to its truck-out directive or risk forfeiting the (SDS) from it.
According to a statement from the agency in Abuja, the Executive Secretary of PPPRA, Mr. Raginald Stanley, had told the top echelon of the country's oil marketing companies at a stakeholders' meeting that henceforth, at least 80 per cent truck-out compliance is now a condition precedent for processing the SDS under the PSF scheme.
Stanley explained that the measure was necessary to facilitate robust operation and further consolidate on the gains recorded in the intervention policy initiated by the Federal Government in Nigeria's petroleum downstream sector in 2012.
He added that the PPPRA would take all necessary steps to ensure that oil marketers provide unhindered access to inspectors nominated by the agency, in addition to providing access for inspectors to undertake opening and closing tanks dips, as well as opening and closing meter readings at the depots.
This, Stanley noted, was in furtherance of its efforts to curb incidents of sharp practices perpetrated by some oil marketers.
According to the statement, Stanley in his review of operational activities of the downstream regulatory agency in 2012, announced that: "Operationally, the year 2012 went well despite the challenges of subsidy removal announced on January 1, 2012, as well as the several appearances at the various investigations and committee hearings on subsidy regime."
The Executive Secretary also hinted that those challenges, rather than being inhibitions: "Actually helped to strengthen both the operations and structure of PPPRA, making it emerge as one of the most productive and result-oriented MDAs in the country."
He however identified a major challenge of 2012 as the inability to redeem SDS immediately after the stipulated 45 days, thus impairing marketers' capacity to import petrol.
He announced that the agency had successfully conducted a nation-wide stock-taking exercise on January 1, 2013, and warned marketers that: "The practice of discharging and trucking simultaneously is against established industry practice and henceforth shall attract appropriate sanctions except, where such is required to create ullage in which case conditions for floating operations are met."
He further stated that tracking of IMO number of vessels by inspectors and the agency represents additional tool being introduced to check malpractices in the subsector, adding that there were dangers associated with product adulteration, especially as it relates to ATK which he strongly condemned.
"Henceforth, the PPPRA will conduct periodic checks on active tank farms to ensure that facilities used for back-loading are demobilised at all times, in addition to ensuring marketers' compliance to set guidelines," he said.
Stanley also called on inspectors to ensure that marketers are not hoarding products in their tank farms by refusing to truck-out and that such should be reported to the agency for appropriate sanctions.
In his words to marketers, Stanley asked them to remain proactive and discharge their responsibilities to the nation with total commitment while ensuring honesty and transparency, adding that there will be no space for non performers in 2013.
He also commended the efforts of marketers for the increase in their asset base and improved facilities in the sector. According him: "The functionality or otherwise of any marketer in the year 2013 depends on the assets without which they will not function optimally."
Equally, he reminded the marketers that he foresees more facilities coming up this year and more players coming on board but assured them that operational activities in this year would be participatory and that any issues that come up would be attended to promptly.
As part of the agency's effort for openness and transparency, Stanley disclosed to the stakeholders, marketing firms that performed above 50 per cent based on the agency's records and directed marketers that performed below the benchmark to buckle up before February 15, 2013 in delivery of their products volumes, or stand the risk of being heavily sanctioned.
The Executive Secretary reiterated that 2013 would witness zero-tolerant for non-performers.
On the issue of Laycans, Stanley advised marketers to strictly adhere to allocated Laycans, explaining that: "The whole idea of Laycans is to spread delivery along allowable windows, in order to avoid clogging the system with products, while helping the agency to situate them."
Laycans, according to him, is operational and if for any reason any marketer has issue with the allocated Laycan and feels otherwise, such should always inform the agency.