The Federal Government claimed 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 not until they receive credit alerts from their banks.
The Executive Secretary, Depot & Petroleum Products Marketers Association(DAPPMA), Odufemi Adewole, told Premium times via a phone call 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. 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.
Mr. Adewole said both DAPPMA and MOMAN had 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. 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.
But, even as the money was still being awaited by the marketers, the Finance Minister’s spokesperson, Paul Nwabuikwu, said the Ministry had prioritized the payment of about N156 billion to the marketers in spite of revenue constraints to government.
The payment, Mr. Nwabuikwu said, consisted two components, made up of the cash backing of the N100 billion IOU paid to the marketers in March, while the N56 billion was interest payments for the marketers, according to the PPPRA template.
“The N156 billion is the latest in a series of significant payments made to the oil marketers within the last five months, including over N300 billion in two instalments in December last year and N31 billion in interest differentials recently, totalling over N500 billion paid to marketers within the past five months.
Although the fall in oil prices significantly reduced national revenues, the Minister noted that the government still prioritized payments to marketers to help remove the pains Nigerians were suffering as a result of fuel scarcity.