28 September 2018, Sweetcrude, Lagos — Oil marketers on Thursday appealed to the Federal Government to hasten payment of over N650 billion subsidy arrears owed them to save their assets from being taken over by banks.
The marketers under the aegis of Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria, MOMAN, made the appeal in separate interviews with newsmen in Lagos.
It would be recalled that members of the association are Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, IPMAN; Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association, DAPPMA and Independent Petroleum Products Importers, IPPIs.
The Executive Secretary of DAPPMA, Mr. Olufemi Adewole, also urged the government to lessen the bureaucratic process involved in the payment process.
Adewole said that the inability of the Federal Government to pay the debt had resulted in massive job losses in the oil and gas industry and had affected the marketers’ business operation. He added that 60 percent of marketers had been forced out of business as banks had taken over their depots and other assets due to their inability to pay back monies borrowed.
He added that those still in business are struggling to survive due to the government’s inability to settle the subsidy arrears.
The development, he said, had been threatening investment in the downstream sector.
The DAPPMA scribe said, although the federal government had earmarked money to clear the debts, the marketers had not yet been paid.
Adewole, however, said that the government had promised that part of the money would come as promissory note and cash.
According to him, the information gathered was that the government may pay only in promissory note.
“It means you have to go back and discount this promissory note in the bank.
“This means we are losing because the money has been delayed and this adds up the interest to be charged on our accounts,” he said..
An independent marketer, who spoke on conditions of anonymity, urged government to deregulate the downstream sector.
The source said that the deregulation would curb the huge amount of money spent on subsidy.
The marketer said that the amount owed marketers in the last four years had not been paid, adding that had affected the business operation of most marketers.
According to him, marketers have run out of cash and their businesses are gradually going moribund as a result of capital been stocked.
“No marketer can import petrol with the present price differential
“We cannot buy fuel at N174 per litre at the international market and government is forcing us to sell at N 145 without paying the differentials.
“That was the reason we are urging the government to urgently embark on full deregulation of the sector to create free flow market and allow government to use the money to develop other sectors,’’ he said.
The marketer said that only the NNPC imports fuel and then uses its discretion to allocate products to marketers, adding that if deregulated it would also help government to invest the subsidy money into other sectors.
Also, the Chairman of South-West Chapel of the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, NUPENG, Mr. Tayo Aboyeji, told SweetcrudeReports that loading activities had been bad at most private depot.
Aboyeji attributed the situation to inability of the marketer to import petroleum products.
Aboyeji said that most drivers had been lamenting low patronage from private depots due to non-payment of marketers’ subsidy arrears among other factors.