Government, marketers meet to resolve N200b subsidy balance
THERE are rising optimism that the lingering fuel crisis would be permanently resolved today, as the Federal Government meets the petroleum marketers to draw up modalities of settling the N200 billion ballance of the subsidy claims.
Although, the National Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO) and their Petroleum Tanker Drivers (PTD) counterpart have temporarily resumed loading at the weekend, the outcome of today’s meeting will determine the fate of consumers in the struggle.
Besides, there was disparity in the amount claimed to have been paid by the government last week, as report showed that government paid N156 billion, the marketers denied and put the figure at N154 billion.
The Executive Secretary, Major Oil Marketers of Nigeria, (MOMAN), ObafemiOlawore, told The Guardian at the weekend that all is set to meet the Federal Government on Monday (today).
He said the meeting would serve as a determinant of the market situation, as the tanker driverstreathen to go back on strike if favourable actions were not taken.
Olawore said:“We collected a post-dated FBN which is about two months old. I want to correct the figure, it is not N156 billion, it is actually N154 billion, N98billion was post-dated for the main subsidy and N56 billion for the interest, making a total of N154 billion.
“So, I can confirm that it is only a N154 billion that has been paid out of a total ofN354 billion. We still have N200 billion outstanding,” he said.
According to him, the industrial action was suspended because the minister has agreed to meet the aggrieved party today to look at how the ballance will be paid.
NARTO is telling us that if they wait for some days and we did not come back to pay them, they have only suspended the strike and therefore they will resume their action. Olawore however said that the action would be resumed if after meeting with government there is no positive response.
Reports have quoted the Minister of Finance and the Coordinating Minister of the Economy, NgoziOkonjo-Iweala, saying that a subsidy payment of N156 billion has been made to the marketers last Thursday.
Meanwhile, the filling stations were still crowded with long queues yesterday, as consumers struggle to get products by all means. The scarcity has almost paralysed business activities across boards, although, investigations revealed that many corporate entities and small scale business patronise black-marketers to thrive.
Far from the official pump price on N87 per litter, fuel now sells for between N100 and N200 per liter depending on the location.