The immediate past Executive Secretary of the Petroleum Equalisation Fund, PEF, Mrs. AdefunkeKasali, said the agency saved the country more than $2 billion, about N400 billion, through the ‘Project Aquila.’
Kasali, who stated this in Abuja during the handing over ceremony to the newly appointed Executive Secretary, Mr. Asabe Ahmed, stated that through the initiative, PEF had detected and stopped payment of more than N847million in fictitious claims by petroleum marketers.
She noted that Project Aquila is a high-tech electronic loading and delivery system introduced by PEF to check leakages in the system, as well as enthrone transparency and due process.
According to her, PEF had been able to check fraudulent activities among petroleum marketers and ensured transparency in the system through the project.
She said: “The new initiative, also known as ‘e-loading’ ensures the delivery of petroleum products to the right destination.
“The process has checkmated the annual loss of N15 billion to the activities of some unscrupulous petroleum tanker drivers, who engaged in some unethical activities such as diversion of some petroleum products.”
Kasali maintained that the agency had taken a bold step to eliminate corruption and ensure prompt payment of bridging cost through ‘Project Aquila.’
The executive secretary said the project had also been able to remove encumbrances that normally caused distortions in the supply chain such as the issue of prompt payment of bridging claims.
She said: “Just look at the way we designed the business, we saved two billion dollars up-front because we wrote the codes in-house and how about all the tens of billions we have saved by people that used to claim fictitious amounts.
“There was a time when we stopped N847 million worth of fake tickets and all the ones we have been saving ever since and we thank God for that.”
Kasali refuted claims that the board was under-paying some marketers or delaying their payment, 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 that 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 has been stocked it means that they were not loaded,” she explained.
The New Executive Secretary, Mrs. Asabe Ahmed lauded the achievement of Kasali and said she was going to build on the achievement.
“I can see a team of highly motivated professional and 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
“Because the good things that are happening here is the efficiency that has been brought about by the system put in place,” she said
“Not a whole lot is going to change in terms of process that is already in place, I can only build on the outstanding that has been recommended for upgrading and improving the process,” she added.
She called for cooperation of the staff, stressing that the industry was a complex one that needed the cooperation of all the stakeholders including the staff.