The Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association (DAPPMA) and Independent Petroleum Products Importers (IPPIs) have raised the alarm over a N650 billion allegedly owed them by Federal Government in subsidy arrears, saying its immediate defrayment would help secure their assets.
In separate interviews yesterday, the oil marketers explained that the settlement of the debt would stop their assets from being taken over by banks.
The Executive Secretary of DAPPMA, Mr. Olufemi Adewole, urged government to reduce the bureaucratic bottlenecks in the payment process, adding that the debt had led to massive job losses in the downstream sector of the oil and gas industry.
He said 60 per cent of marketers had been forced out of business as financial institutions had taken over their depots and other investments for failing to pay back their loans.
According to him, many others are struggling to survive with the concomitant threat to investments in the sector.
The DAPPMA scribe acknowledged that though government had put in place arrangement to clear the backlog, but was quick to add that payments were yet to be received by marketers.
Adewole, however, said government had promised that part of the money would come in promissory note and cash, adding that available information was pointing only to the former mode of payment.
An independent marketer, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, urged government to deregulate the downstream sector, maintaining that the exercise would check the huge funds being spent on subsidy.
To the chairman of South West Chapel of the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG), Mr. Tayo Aboyeji, loading activities had been very poor at the private depots.
He attributed the development to the inability of the marketers to import petroleum products, stressing that most drivers had been lamenting low patronage in the wake of the predicament.
Meanwhile, the nation’s oil exports are to reach their highest in six months by November, led in part by an increase in supply of its four largest crude grades, loading schedules showed yesterday.
Total loadings would rise to 1.876 million barrels day in the month from October’s 1.652 million bpd, according to Reuters.