15 May 2015, Lagos – Petroleum products’ marketers on Thursday said they could no longer import petrol into the country because the Federal Government had remained insensitive to their problems.
The marketers, under the aegis of the Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria and the Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association, said following the escalation of the current petrol scarcity, the Federal Government had refused to meet with them.
The last meeting the Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, had with the marketers in Abuja on May 4 ended in a deadlock as both parties disagreed on the actual subsidy arrears due to the marketers. The government had put the subsidy debt at N131bn, while the marketers insisted on N200.2bn.
The Executive Secretary, MOMAN, Mr. Thomas Olawore, said with the situation on the ground, it was unlikely that the marketers would continue to import petrol unless the subsidy debt was settled.
“We have huge outstanding claims, huge loans on us are still unpaid and our creditors are also not confident about doing business with us. We, therefore, are unable to bring in fresh products,” he explained.
Olawore said as of February, the debt owed marketers was N200.2bn; but pointed that the amount had since increased.
On the disparity between the government figure and that of the marketers, he said, “The Minister of Finance is saying we should verify what has already been verified by the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency. The minister still went ahead to set up a committee to verify the disparity. Her office, the Debt Management Office, the Central Bank of Nigeria and others form part of the committee.
“The CBN advised on the particular rate that was used by the PPPRA. We, therefore, reject the call for another verification. We believe this suffering is getting too much.”
Olawore, however, confirmed that members of MOMAN had received their own share of the N154bn paid by the government in April.
The Executive Secretary, DAPPMA, Mr. Odufemi Adewole, said the government was still owing its members a lot of money in subsidy claims, adding that most of the depots across the country were owned by members of the association.
According to him, though some DAPPMA members collected over N100bn from the April payment, others have not received any money from the government.
Meanwhile, the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria has called on the Federal Government to restructure the Pipelines and Product Marketing Company to curb the inefficiency in the distribution and supply of petroleum products throughout the country.
– – Punch