The lingering fuel crisis rocking the country may still get worse in the days ahead, as depot owners and other fuel importers under the Petroleum Subsidy Scheme, PSS, claimed yesterday that the Federal Government still owed them over N291billion as subsidy reimbursements, interests on delayed payments and foreign exchange differentials.
The marketers said that the figure were the aftermath of the Senate Committee on Petroleum (Downstream) meeting with the major industry stakeholders.
They said the meeting persuaded the Petroleum Tanker Drivers, PTD-NUPENG and NARTO to call off their strike on Monday, May 25, 2015 and resume loading of fuel from depots which had stock.
The Executive Secretary, Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association, DAPPMA, Mr. Olufemi Adewole, said in Lagos, yesterday that it had become necessary to state the fact that depot owners and other fuel importers under the PSF are still being owed billions of naira in unpaid subsidy reimbursement, interest on delayed payment and foreign exchange differentials.
He said: “This much was expressed to Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association, DAPPMA, and the Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria, MOMAN, by former Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister for the Economy, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala in her letter to both associations, a copy of which she also released to the Senate Committee for reference.
“However, the letter did not state the timeline for the re-verification exercise which the minister instituted on the amount she disputed and also did not state the expected date of payment which “PSF” participants had been clamouring for in all the meetings held with the former CME/HMF since February 2015,” Adewole said.
He said that, “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 as it is also the first time that commercial banks will notify importers that based on Central Bank of Nigeria, 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 subsidy scheme, the PTD-NUPENG and NARTO had at various times protested the non-payment of their freight charges by withdrawing their services hence it is unfortunate for anyone to insinuate that marketers are blackmailers holding the nation to ransom via a strike about which they know nothing.
“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; however further investigations have confirmed that the company is indeed being owed an undisclosed amount which however cannot be confirmed to have been added to the figure released by the former CME/HMF.
“It would be gross injustice against participants in the PSF scheme who actually render a social service to the nation by importing petrol at international rate and sell below cost price at the behest of the Federal Government to be accused of being saboteurs just because they asked to be refunded the difference between the landing cost of the imported petrol and the local selling price in line with the agreed conditions of participation,” he stated.
Adewole, however, said that depot owners and marketers want the removal of fuel subsidy which is never beneficial to them. As patriotic Nigerians, we had always advocated the need to remove fuel subsidy, which only benefit foreign refineries where the product consumed locally in Nigeria is being sourced.
He therefore tasked the Federal Government to fully deregulate the downstream petroleum sector as the Nigerian economy cannot continue to sustain the subsidy regime, stressing that funds released after the removal of subsidy can be utilised for infrastructural development and job creation as addition to jobs already created by DAPPMA members.


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