Respite, As Fuel Marketers Begin Temporary Loading
• NARTO, PTD Suspend Strike
• Govt Pays N154.2b, Still Owes N200b
• To meet marketers on Monday
THERE seems to be respite for petroleum products users as petroleum marketers yesterday began temporary loading of products to filling stations across the country.
This is sequel to the suspension of the strike by the tanker drivers and owners after the Federal Government paid N154.2 billion out of the outstanding subsidy claims to the aggrieved marketers.
However, the Federal Government has scheduled another meeting for Monday, when the modalties of remitting the balance will be agreed.
All stakeholders including the Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN), Independent Petroleum Marketers Assocciation of Nigeria (IPMAN) and their partners, National Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO) and the Petroleum Tanker Drivers (PTD), are now awaiting the outcome of the meeting to determine the next line of action.
Executive Secretary, MOMAN, Obafemi Olawore told journalists in Lagos yesterday that although the Federal Government has commenced payment of the claims, it still has an outstanding of N200 billion.
According to him, the government has paid about N154.2 billion out of a total of N354.4 billion, leaving a balance of about N200 billion.
Olawore said the impact of the loading may not be felt immediately until the next few days.
The shortage in fuel circulation was occasioned by the strike embarked upon by the tanker drivers under the auspices NARTO and Petroleum Tanker Drivers (PTD), due to the outstanding payment owing by the petroleum marketers.
Olawore explained: “That was at the point where we were until Thursday when we received a post-dated FBN. Which is about two months old. We were patient enough to receive it and hold on.Some of our members have started collecting money, but my belief is that even if it is only one company that has collected, the rest will also collect.
“In collaboration with NARTO and PTD, this action has been suspended. The Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has agreed to meet us
on Monday to look at how the balance of N200 billion will be liquidated.”
Meanwhile, long queues persisted at filling stations across the country thereby imposing untold hardship on Nigerians.
Some of the filling stations visited by The Guardian yesterday were besieged by motorists and other petroleum products users carrying jerry cans. They include Conoil NNPC at Abule Egba, Mobil, Total, Conoil, Oando Agege, Oando, AP, Ayokunu, Star Oil, Jolaco, along Abeokuta Expressway.
Investigations revealed that some of the filling station operators have indiscriminately hikes the price from the official pump price of N87 per litre. They now sell between N100 and N120 per litre.