The relative normalcy enjoyed in the supply of petroleum products nationwide may soon be disrupted as the Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association, DAPPMA, is claiming that the federal government is yet to give firm indication of when it will pay the outstanding subsidy of about N291billion
The DAPPMA in a statement by its executive secretary, Femi Adewole, in Lagos yesterday, recalled the aftermath of the Senate Committees’ meeting with major petroleum industry players, which succeeded in persuading the petroleum tanker drivers (PTD), NUPENG and NARTO to call off their strike on May 25, 2015, and resume loading of fuel from the various depots that had stock.
Depot owners and other fuel importers under the ‘petroleum subsidy scheme’, Mr. Adewole claimed, were still being owed billions of naira in unpaid subsidy reimbursement, interest on delayed payment and foreign exchange differentials.
This much, he said, was expressed to the DAPPMA and MOMAN by the former Finance Minister and Coordinating Minister for the Economy, Mrs Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, in her letter to both associations, a copy of which she also released to the Senate Committees for reference.
The DAPPMA scribe lamented that the letter did not state the timeline for the re-verification exercise, which the former minister instituted on the amount she disputed and also did not state the expected date of payment that the petroleum subsidy fund (PSF) participants had been agitating for in all the meetings held with her since February 2015.
According to him, “It should be noted that this is the first time since the establishment of the petroleum subsidy fund scheme that marketers will not have ready and easy access to fuel import loans and it is also the first time that commercial banks will notify importers that based on CBN regulations, importers have attained their credit ceilings with their various banks and would have to make some refunds on the existing loans to the sector prior to being funded for petrol imports.
“Unfortunately, the expected refund to the banks is yet to be reimbursed by the federal government. Due to debts owed transporters by marketers, who have been experiencing serious financial stress due to outstanding debts owed them by the federal government as a result of petrol imports under the petroleum subsidy scheme, the PTD, NUPENG and NARTO had at various times protested non-payment of their freight charges by withdrawing their services”.
Mr. Adewole regretted that the action of the transporters had caused some persons to insinuate that marketers are blackmailers holding the nation to ransom via a strike about which they know nothing.
“The DAPPMA’s initial assertion on petrol importers and marketers who participate in the petrol subsidy scheme and are therefore entitled to subsidy reimbursement is based on the widely circulated payment list from the Federal Ministry of Finance which was published in several newspapers. The publication detailed payees and other PSF scheme participants even when there was no payment due to them and the name of Capital Oil and Gas Industries Limited was conspicuously missing”, he said.