“As at the end of May 2012, NNPC had unpaid (subsidy) claims of
N1.134tn,” spokesman for the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation,
Mr. Fidel Pepple, was quoted as saying by Reuters.
Two fuel import unions have threatened to go on strike this week over
unpaid subsidies, risking fuel shortages in the country. This issue
had prompted public protests in the past.
People are already queuing for hours to get petrol at inflated prices
in some areas in the oil-producing Niger Delta.
Nigeria is among the top 10 crude oil exporters in the world but due
to decades of corruption and mismanagement it has to import most of
its refined fuel needs, the report said.
NNPC said it had 46 days of fuel supplies and it would do its best to
meet demand despite “limited resources.”
“Yes, we are concerned about the shortages but just to put it on
record, NNPC has been the only organisation importing products since
January when the fuel subsidy issue began,” Pepple said.
The finance ministry declined to comment on the missed subsidy
payments but had previously said it was waiting for the results of
probes into fuel importers before resuming payments.
Several investigations into the import subsidy were launched after
President Goodluck Jonathan attempted to remove the support on January
1, before partially reinstating it after more than a week of protests
over increased motor fuel costs.
Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on Wednesday charged 12 fuel
traders over allegations they illegally collected a combined N11bn in
subsidy payments for fuel they never delivered.
The 12 individuals from seven companies charged are all from low-level
Nigerian firms, although the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission
said more than 100 other marketers were being investigated.
The presidential committee said on Tuesday that fuel traders collected
$2.38bn last year in fraudulent subsidy payments.
Meanwhile, members of the Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers
Association have requested the Federal Government to pay the subsidy
arrears it owes them to the banks they are indebted to.
They said paying the banks directly would help to check interest rate
and exchange rate differentials that were accumulating on the debts.
The President, DAPPMA, Chief Dapo Abiodun, who spoke to our
correspondent on Wednesday, said most oil marketers had limited or no
‘credit line’ left to raise capital.
He said, “The Federal Government can pay our banks directly. The
situation is getting worse. Even our foreign bankers don’t have
confidence in us anymore.”
He also said that the association was ready for the strike starting
from midnight of Thursday.
Another executive of the association, Mr. Sampson Ogah, said interest
rates were fast multiplying on the debt they owed banks; and in the
interest of everyone, government should intervene.
According to him, the debts are fast becoming unbearable.
DAPPMA had said it would be joining in the strike started by the Jetty
and Petroleum Tank Farm Owners of Nigeria if Federal Government did
not settle arrears on subsidy payments, among other issues by
Thirty additional oil marketers, who are members of DAPPMA, would join
Members of JEPTFON had, on Monday, embarked on an indefinite strike
over unpaid subsidy payments. The union had shut down jetties and
depots of its members.