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Oil marketers cry out over unpaid subsidy arrears



SUBSIDY DEBT: FG, oil marketers reach truce on mode of payment

Oil marketers in the country have cried out over the continued delay by the Federal Government in paying subsidy arrears accrued to them.

According to the Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria, MOMAN and the Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association of Nigeria, DAPPMAN, the delay is impacting negatively on their businesses.

The marketers called on government to facilitate the payment of the debts by the agencies saddled with the responsibility.

It would be recalled that the Senate had approved the request by President Mohammadu Buhari for the payment of subsidy claims amounting to N348 billion to oil companies in July.

Speaking on the issue, the Executive Secretary, MOMAN, Mr Clement Isong, appealed to the government to hasten the payment of the subsidy arrears owed to them, adding that the continued non-payment had severely impacted their working capital and their ability to pay bank loans and their service providers.

He said: “We appreciate the efforts of the National Assembly and the Federal Executive Council in approving payment but the non-payment has a significantly negative impact on the operational efficiency of the downstream sector of the oil industry, thereby placing a severe strain on players’ efforts to continually invest in infrastructure and raise industry standards. We hope that the debts will be paid in full to the oil marketers as soon as possible.”

Isong said the debt owed to MOMAN members alone stood at N130.7bn as of August 2018.

Read also: FG approves N60bn subsidy to drive down price of rice

Also speaking, the Executive Secretary, DAPPMAN, Mr Olufemi Adewole, faulted the processes highlighted for payment by the government, saying, they were inimical to the operations of their businesses.

He said: “The processes they have highlighted are killing our businesses. Immediately the banks read in the media that the National Assembly had approved, they went to court, got an injunction and seized our assets.”

According to Adewole, some marketers had been forced out of business as banks had taken over their depots, assets and properties due to their inability to pay back monies borrowed to import fuel, while others were struggling to survive.

“The debt has had very adverse effects on our operations. I am aware of two depots that have been forcibly taken over by banks because they got injunctions from the courts. They did so the moment they heard that the National Assembly approved payment of the debt to marketers. Unfortunately, as of today, the money has yet to get into our accounts,” he added.

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