The Federal Government, on Thursday, commenced the deployment of security agencies to filling stations across the country to enforce the use of Point of Sale machines and the acceptance of bank transfers at the various outlets.
It vowed to deal with oil marketers who reject PoS machines or bank transfers from customers, stressing that the move became vital following reports that some filling stations were culpable as regards this development, despite the severe cash crunch nationwide.
But the oil marketers told our correspondent that they were also hit by the cash crunch, as this had affected their operations in diverse ways, denying them the ability to restock in some instances.
The government’s directive to marketers came through the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority, in a statement issued in Abuja by the agency’s General Manager, Corporate Communications and Stakeholders Management, Kimchi Apollo.
The statement read in part, “It has come to the attention of the NMDPRA that some retail outlets are not accepting the use of Point of Sale machines at their filling stations due to the recent cash crunch brought about by the new naira design.
“The authority frowns at this recent behaviour which is causing untold hardship for Nigerians at a time when all hands should be on deck to assist the government in the transition to the new naira.
“All retail outlets are directed to ensure the free use of POS and bank transfer for the sale of petroleum products to alleviate the suffering of customers at this critical time.”
The NMDPRA said it would work with law enforcement agencies to enforce the use of POS machines and acceptance of cash transfers at retail outlets, stressing that oil marketers who flout the directive would be dealt with.
“The authority and security agencies will be at retail outlets to ensure compliance with this directive and any filling station found violating this directive will be duly sanctioned.
“We reassure the general public of our commitment to ensuring good quality service in the sale and distribution of petroleum products nationwide,” it stated.
But the Secretary, Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, Abuja-Suleja, Mohammed Shuaibu, told our correspondent that cash crunch was also affecting marketers.
“This naira scarcity could also be a factor contributing to the queues in many filling stations. If there was enough naira, the service to customers in retail outlets would be faster, but people hardly get money to go to the market, not to talk of filling stations,” he stated.
He added, “And it is important to state that the cash crunch is affecting both the oil marketer and the customers of our products. There is no cash, you can’t travel to perfect some transactions, even the Internet services are not functioning as expected. You encounter difficulties when trying to make transfers.”
The the National President, IPMAN, Debo Ahmed, had announced on Wednesday that efforts were being made to clear the queues across the country.
In a notice issued to IPMAN members, he stated following a meeting held on February 7, 2023, between the National Executive Council of the association and the Managing Director of NNPC Retail Limited, the national oil firm promised to set aside 140 million litres of PMS for independent marketers.