Fuel queues end soon as marketers get N156b
From the Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association of Nigeria (DAPPMAN) has come assurance that the current fuel queues across the country are to ease soon as the Federal Government has authorised the payment of N156 billion to marketers today.
Meanwhile, the Federal Executive Council (FEC) has blamed marketers and stanker drivers for the current scarcity of fuel in the country.
Speaking to State House correspondents after the weekly FEC meeting in Abuja yesterday, Information Minister, Senator Patricia Akwashiki, stated that there was enough fuel to last the country for more than 27 days. She blamed fuel marketers and tanker drivers, and said that from today, concrete steps would be taken by the relevant government departments to address the issues.
“I want to assure Nigerians that we have enough fuel to supply, and the problem is not that we do not have fuel on ground, we have a problem with the tanker drivers and it bothers on non-payment. But from tomorrow, the coordinating minister of the economy is going to start paying some of the liabilities we have in that sector and the queues for fuel will ease off.
“We have enough fuel on ground to last us for 27 days even if we are consuming four million litres per day. But the problem we have is logistics and the problems with the unions and non-payment. So you don’t have to wait for Buhari administration to fix it, we can fix it and we have been fixing it.”
The Executive Secretary of DAPPMAN, Femi Adewole, told The Guardian yesterday that
“The Federal Government is owing marketers N256.179 billion. The marketers that are owed include those on batches C14, U14, A15 and B15. The Federal Ministry of Finance issued sovereign debt note in February of a little less than N100 billion. But that was not released. Now, government has authorized that payment with additional N50billion. This brings the total payment to N156billion. We have assurance from government that the money will be paid tomorrow (today) and our members are working on the process of payment now.”
He explained that the non-allocation of funds for subsidy in the 2015 federal budget as passed by the National Assembly was a proposal of the Federal Government. He said the marketers were in support of the withdrawal of subsidy. Adewole was, however, quick to stress the need to put in place regulations that will guide the industry when the subsidy is finally removed.
But the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and its Trade Union Congress (TUC) have declared their opposition to the planned removal of subsidy.
The joint Chairman, 2015 May Day Committee of NLC and TUC, Peters Adeyemi, said in Abuja yesterday that “NLC does not believe government pays any subsidy on petroleum products.” He declared that labour would not accept any increase in the price of petroleum products.
His words: “During the administration of Olusegun Obasanjo, petroleum price was moved up 11 times, and 11 times we rejected that. We do not believe there is any subsidy on petroleum products and we have been consistent on this for many years. It is better for the in-coming administration to go and look for money elsewhere. We will not support increment in the price of petroleum under any guise.
We are aware that the price of crude oil has been on the downward slide, but cannot be cited as an excuse to increase the price of oil. Government should diversify the economy in its bid to raise the revenue profile of the country. Our members will not be subjected to another round of hardship simply because government has refused to do its job.”
Adeyemi disclosed plan by the Congress to demand an upward review of the national minimum wage, explaining that naira devaluation, rising cost of living and inflation have connived to render the gains of the last minimum wage ineffective.