Story By GLADYS JOHNSON
Fuel marketers have warned of imminent acute scarcity over N350billion debt being owed by the Federal Government.
Speaking with journalists on Friday, the Executive Secretary, Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN), Mr. Femi Olawore, stated that the next five days are very crucial to marketers to continue to import and distribute petroleum products across the country.
According to him, “they are owing us and they should pay. We are doing business on behalf on the Federal Government and if they didn’t ask us to sell with subsidy, all these problems won’t have emerged.
“At this point, majority of the banks are not helpful. All post-dated Sovereign Debt Notes (SDN) issued by the Finance Ministry was not honoured by the banks; they claimed they cannot deal with post-dated financial instruments.”
Furthermore, he stressed that since the marketers (MOMAN and Depot and Petroleum Products Marketing Association (DAPPMA)) are using their shareholders’ fund to import fuel and the fund has become huge debt, there are concerns among shareholders so that the debt will not go bad.
MOMAN had in a letter addressed to the Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, stated that despite previous assurances from the government to reimburse the marketers for under recovery as verified by the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA), it had failed to honour the agreement.
The association said the industry to date had only received approximately N30billion in foreign exchange differential claims out of the N100billion owed.
“In the same vein, only N345billion has been received in core subsidy payments, covering payments up to the second quarter of 2014.
“Specifically, only three companies out of the six MOMAN companies received payments for forex differentials and no company, MOMAN or DAPPMA, has been paid interest charges on delayed payments,” he stated.
He argued further that MOMAN comfortably controls about 60 per cent of the downstream sub-sector of the oil and gas sector and the need for the government to pay marketers to avoid fuel scarcity.
On claims by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) that it has fuel in storage that will lasts for 29 days, he challenged the NNPC to tell the public where the petrol is stored.
“I challenge him (Ohi Alegbe, Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs, NNPC) to tell us where the fuel is stored and we will ask the journalists to come with us and confirm the stock level,” he said.