Outgoing Executive Secretary, Petroleum Equalisation Fund, PEF, Mrs Adefunke Kasali, said the agency saved more than $2 billion (about N360 billion) through “Project Aquila.’’
Kasali announced this while handing over duties to the new Executive Secretary, Mrs Asabe Ahmed in Abuja on Thursday.
Project Aquila is a high-tech electronic loading and delivery system introduced by PEF to check leakages as well as enthrone transparency and due process in the system.
According to her, PEF has been able to check fraudulent activities among petroleum marketers.
“The initiative, also known as e-loading, ensures the delivery of petroleum products to the right destination.
“The process has checkmated annual loss of N15 billion to the activities of unscrupulous petroleum tanker drivers who engage in unethical activities such as diversion of some petroleum products’’, she said.
Kasali added that the agency had taken a bold step to eliminate corruption and ensure prompt payment of bridging cost through Project Aquila.
“We have cleansed the entire system, we have cleansed the downstream system. We went from a manual system of operation where it took between 16 or 18 months before claim was paid to where we pay in two or four weeks.
“The system of giving out 10 or 15 per cent before you collect your cheque is gone. The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) gave us an award in 2013.
“We were the agency government understudied to direct all Federal Government agencies to commence e-payment because PEF did it and we have been recognised for it”, she said.
She added that through the initiative, PEF had detected and stopped payment of more than N847million in fictitious claims by petroleum marketers.
Kasali said the project had also been able to remove encumbrances such as late payment of bridging claims that caused distortions in the supply chain.
“Just look at the way we designed the business. We saved two billion dollars upfront because we wrote the codes in-house”, she added.
Kasali refuted claims that the board was underpaying some marketers or delaying their payments, saying that the PEFMB had been consistent in paying the right claims due to marketers.
This, she said, was in accordance with their capacity as approved by the Department of Petroleum Resources.
“Those who are complaining are those the robust Project Aquila has blocked their old ways of milking the system and are uncomfortable with the new measures imposed to check past abuses.
“If any marketer said he was not paid, it means we could not confirm that they were loaded. So, if somebody said his claim had been stocked, it meant that they were not loaded.’’
The new Executive Secretary, Mrs Asabe Ahmed, lauded the achievements of Kasali and said she was going to build on them.
“I can see a team of highly motivated professionals, the efficiency I have seen in the system is due to all of you. I have come to carry on from where she has left off.
“Not a whole lot is going to change in terms of process that is already in place. I can only build on outstanding ones recommended for upgrading”, she said.
She, therefore, called for cooperation of the staff, stressing that the industry was a complex one that needed the cooperation of all the stakeholders.

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