Subsidy Payment: Govt’s silence worries oil marketers
…16,500MT of petrol arrives Port Harcourt
The Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria, MOMAN, and the Depot Petroleum Products Marketers Association, DAPPMA, say they are worried that the Federal Government has remained mute on their demand for payment of interests on subsidy funds for fuel imported into the country, few days to the end of the tenure of the administration.
Based on government’s silence on this and the resolve of the marketers not to embark on fresh imports until their outstanding payments are cleared, there are strong indications that the current fuel scarcity in the country may persist beyond the May 29 handover of power to Gen. Muhammadu Buhari by incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan on May 29.
The Nigerian Port Authority, NPA, however, said a ship laden with 16,500 metric tonnes of Premium Motor Spirit, PMS, otherwise known as petrol, berthed last week at the Port Harcourt ports.
Nothing yet had been heard from the committee set up by the Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala to verify the actual subsidy figures and interest to pay oil marketers, the marketers said.
Some of the marketers believe that the committee which is made up of the Petroleum Products Price Regulatory Agency, PPPRA, Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN among others, was a ploy by the Federal Government to delay payment of their claims.
They argued that the figures presented to government for payment had earlier been verified by PPPRA under the supervision of CBN and that verification by the new committee would delay payment beyond the hand over date.
Executive Secretary of MOMAN, Mr. Obafemi Olawore told news men in Lagos that “because of the huge outstanding that we have; because we have not been able to pay back the loan we have taken; because our suppliers are not too confident; we are unable to bring fresh import.
“Whatever we have now is what we have received from NNPC and the small quantity that we have from NNPC is why you see all the trucks in Lagos scrambling for fuel”.
He also explained that during the few weeks of fuel scarcity which has brought hardship on Nigerians, the federal government has not initiated any meeting with oil marketers., describing government’s silence as uncomfortable.
Executive Secretary of DAPPMA, Mr. Olufemi Adewole, said the Federal Government owes is members over N200 billion.
He also told news men that of 40 members, only 24 participate in the subsidy programme, adding that all of its members have been paid subsidy while six out of 24 have been paid their interests.