The Petroleum Equalisation Fund (PEF) has said it is partnering the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) to improve on the integrity of its online real-time petroleum products distribution monitoring programme, Project Aquila. PEF stated that Project Aquila, which is going into its next phase of implementation, with additional security features, has now caught the attention of the FRSC, which deploys similar framework in its statutory registration and monitoring of vehicular movements across the country. The Executive Secretary of PEF, Mrs. Sharon Kasali stated in a recent chat with journalists in Abuja that the agency’s seamless partnership with the FRSC will help advance its responsibilities of administering bridging claims in petrol distribution within Nigeria’s downstream petroleum sector. According to Kasali, the partnership will also help PEF close down on the possibilities of financial sleaze in its administration of bridging claims to petrol marketers within the government’s petroleum equalisation scheme. Speaking on the agency’s initial challenges with its management of the project Aquila monitoring scheme, Kasali said: “We found a gang that don’t even have tags but have licence plates and can fabricate the plates. So for one truck they could use it to collect four to five different tags. So those became challenges, but quietly we were working on solutions. And towards the end of last year we found a system that will tag the truck, mark it with a dot metric marker and then we keyed in with the FRSC. This is because the FRSC has a fantastic system that in a lot of ways mirrors what we are doing in PEF.” She continued: “When we started to come up with this idea we decided to get a different tag. Although the pressure was so much by the end of last year, we refused to give them out. So our new policy now is that we will only give that new tag to a truck that is registered with FRSC. For in the FRSC system, once you put that information in, it is registered. FRSC has now given us access to their portal, so from our office we can put your licence plate number and if you have not registered with FRSC you cannot get tag with us. Aside that, we are now going out to integrate our two systems. The challenge has now strengthened our processes well,” she added in her explanation of the new features in the monitoring process.” Kasali further explained that the partnership with FRSC will expose all fraudulent marketers, adding, “once you have that tag you cannot get it again from PEF for you cannot register twice with the FRSC. So we’ve blocked that loophole.” She explained all markers have been instructed to either mark in 2D code or on actual metal and there is a machine that will read that code and link it directly to our system. “So it is not going to be a matter of our staff saying that he saw it; we don’t want our staff to see it, we want the machine to confirm. We also found out that there are areas where loopholes exist in our registration, but right now the registration process is being fully automated.”
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