The Petroleum Equalization Fund (Management) Board, PEFMB, has announced that it would begin the implementation of a five–pronged strategy to quicken the now compulsory registration and tagging of trucks used in moving products under the acclaimed Project Aquila, starting this month.
A release from PEFMB, which was signed by the General Manager, Corporate Services, Mr. Goddy Nnadi, and made available to our correspondent in Abuja, noted that Project Aquila is the high-tech electronic loading and delivery system implemented by the Board to check leakages in the system as well as enthrone transparency and due process.
He said, “Under the plan, the Information Technology Systems in the organization have been up-graded to ensure faster processing and tagging of trucks used in the movement of petroleum products nationwide. Staff of the IT unit have also, undergone special training for better and more efficient service delivery. Trucks not tagged will not be allowed to bridge products in any depot.”
Furthermore, he said, registration and tagging of trucks will now be decentralized to designated centres in the six geo-political zones to reduce stress on marketers and transporters, while documentation processes have been streamlined and paper work reduced drastically. “Tagging teams will work simultaneously at the various zones to ensure that marketers are not delayed unduly.”
According to PEFMB, marketers are now to file applications for the registration and tagging of their trucks at the various depots, while processing of such applications by the Customer Care Unit has been limited to two working days only. These measures are being implemented to ensure speedy service delivery to petroleum marketers.
“The project which has been successfully deployed in all parts of the country ensures automated data capture and enhanced processing and payment of claims. It is working and still been applied in the dispatch and receipt of trucks now,” Nnadi stated.
Nnadi explained that Project Aquila has been applauded by stakeholders in the downstream sector of the Petroleum industry because of its on-line, real-time information management capability. “It was for this project and other innovations introduced by the Board that it won the Central Bank of Nigeria award for selected IT compliant institutions implementing end-to-end solutions.
“Also, because Project Aquila provides accurate confirmation of all loading and deliveries, Petroleum products are now available in all parts of the country at government approved prices. Contrary to insinuations that marketers’ payments are being delayed, project Aquila has facilitated the availability of Petroleum products across Nigeria due to prompt payment of claims.
“In fact, there is strong evidence of new investments in retail outlets and trucks in the past year, arising from prompt payment of marketers’ claims. Such investments have also encouraged job creation within the industry, as envisaged by Mr. President’s Transformation Agenda,” the statement explained.
It added that contrary to claims that the Board is underpaying some marketers, the PEFMB has been consistent in paying the right claims due to marketers in accordance with their capacity as approved by the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR).
“Those who are complaining are those that the robust Project Aquila has blocked their old ways of ‘milking’ the system, and are uncomfortable with the new measures imposed to check the abuses of the past,” he added.
He further posited that National Secretary of IPMAN, Mr. Mike Osatuyi and the Executive Secretary of NARTO, Barrister Emmanuel Gowon agree that such persons do not represent their organizations and therefore, cannot speak on their behalf.
To ensure efficient implementation of the Project and total buy-in of all stakeholders, he said the Board has formed joint working teams with the National Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO) and the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) to deliberate on, and resolve issues at the depot levels. Also, Management of the Board and National Leaders of both IPMAN and NARTO meet quarterly to discuss and resolve operational issues and ensure good working relations.
“The Board is also, collaborating with the Management of the Federal Road Safety Commission to ensure the success of the registration and tagging of the trucks. It is expected that on completion of the exercise, the organization will provide reliable data on the number and type of trucks involved in the movement of petroleum products nation-wide. The implication is that trucks not registered and tagged will not be accepted for the bridging of petroleum products in all parts of the country,” the statement added.