Friday, May 1, 2015

Fuel Crisis : Marketers deny receiving payment from Nigerian govt, say strike continues

Despite the claim by the Federal Government that N156 billion was released on Thursday to oil marketers to facilitate the quick resolution of the current fuel crisis, the National Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO), has said normal lifting of fuel will not resume till their members’ accounts are duly credited by the banks.

As at 4.35 p.m. on Thursday, the Executive Secretary, Depot & Petroleum Products Marketers Association(DAPPMA), Odufemi Adewole, told PREMIUM TIMES in a telephone interview that none of its members and their counterparts in the Major Oil Marketers Association(MOMAN), had confirmed receiving any payment.

“The money government said it was paying to marketers has not yet hit our accounts. So, there is little we can do about the situation,” Mr, Adewole said. “The money the Minister of Finance promised to pay us last February did not get into our hands till about four or five weeks later.

“If all members are not getting the money today, it means we have to wait till Monday. But, the truth is that nobody is going to call off the strike till the money is paid,” he added.

With Friday declared work-free day to mark workers’ day, it means consumers would have to grapple with terrible fuel supply crisis till next week when the payment may hit the marketers’ accounts.

Since February, Mr. Adewole said both DAPPMA and MOMAN have been writing letters to the Minister of Finance, who promised to pay both foreign exchange differentials, the interest on loans and outstanding subsidy in three tranches.

However, the DAPPMA scribe said despite the Minister’s assurances, nothing seems to be happening, adding that no marketer was willing to take the risk of calling off the strike only for the government to fail to pay the money.

Mr. Adewole regretted that the situation was allowed to degenerate to the present level, pointing out that although the government was owing a total of N256 billion, it said it was now paying N156 billion, without any mention about the balance of N100 billion.

“Who is going to pay that N100 billion for subsidy?” he asked, adding that although media reports have confirmed there was no provision in the budget for subsidy this year,  the marketers have since this year ordered fresh cargoes of petroleum products.

The additional cargoes since the beginning of the year, he said, amounted to over N40 billion in subsidy, while nobody has talked about what would happen to the cargoes already ordered that are yet to arrive the country.

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