Oil Mar­keters to Get N236bn on Dec 14

Sunday Trust - - FRONT PAGE - By Daniel Adugbo

The fed­eral gov­ern­ment said yes­ter­day that it would pay oil mar­keters by Fri­day De­cem­ber 14th, N236 bil­lion be­ing first tranche pay­ment of the ver­i­fied N348 bil­lion out­stand­ing sub­sidy claims owed the mar­keters by the gov­ern­ment

This as­sur­ance was given by the Chief Op­er­at­ing of­fi­cer (COO), Down­stream of the Nige­rian Na­tional Petroleum Cor­po­ra­tion (NNPC) Mr. Henry Ikem-Obih in Abuja.

He said the agree­ment to pay the mar­keters was reached at a meeting last Thurs­day with all the rel­e­vant stake­hold­ers present, in­clud­ing the De­pot and Petroleum Prod­uct Mar­keters As­so­ci­a­tion (DAPPMA) who on Fri­day de­nied that it reached such agree­ment with gov­ern­ment.

Obih ex­plained that it was agreed that af­ter the first tranche is paid, the mar­keters will form a com­mit­tee to work on de­tails of how the next tranche will be paid in 2019 and the last paid in 2020.

“This is the most hon­est ef­fort we have seen in a long time to ac­tu­ally pay this debt. Gov­ern­ment is say­ing we will pay by Fri­day 14th De­cem­ber. Wait till 14th, if gov­ern­ment does not pay then you can take al­ter­na­tive ac­tions,” he said.

He said the po­si­tion of the gov­ern­ment on the mode of pay­ment based on its agree­ment with the mar­keters, has not changed.

“What mar­keters would get on Fri­day is like a cheque, it is not cash in­jected di­rectly into their ac­counts it is what is equiv­a­lent to a cheque which is a prom­is­sory note,” he said.

Obih said al­most 2.8bn litres of petrol is avail­able and that would last for the next 55 days, so “should NNPC stop im­por­ta­tion; there is no need for Nige­ri­ans to en­gage in panic buy­ing of petrol this fes­tive sea­son.”

Also speak­ing to re­porters on the mat­ter, some members of DAPPMA dif­fered with the as­so­ci­a­tion’s po­si­tion, say­ing the tim­ing of the ul­ti­ma­tum was wrong.

The Manag­ing Direc­tor of A.A Rano Nige­ria Ltd, Aliu Be­beji, said the com­pany re­ceives prod­uct from the NNPC and would run its op­er­a­tions smoothly this pe­riod.

“I want to plead with mar­keters to ex­er­cise pa­tience and give gov­ern­ment a sec­ond chance to see what they can do,” he said.

The Manag­ing Direc­tor AYM Shaffa Nig Ltd, Ahmed Umar Ab­dul­lahi, said the com­pany would not en­cour­age any ac­tion that would bring ad­di­tional suf­fer­ing to the Nige­rian pop­u­lace.

“I don’t think the gov­ern­ment has failed (to keep its prom­ise) the gov­ern­ment has tried and we should re­main pa­tient and calm. They promised last year and they ful­filled it and then ne­go­ti­a­tion con­tin­ues,” he said.

The Manag­ing Direc­tor of Obat Oil and Petroleum Prince Femi Ak­in­wu­tan said, “we have put ev­ery­thing in place to sup­port the gov­ern­ment be­cause the gov­ern­ment has been very sup­port­ive as well. We are go­ing to load 24 hours-day and night and even hol­i­day pe­riod to make sure that this pe­riod all Nige­ri­ans would not have is­sues in get­ting fuel. All our sta­tions would be wet, our de­pot and staff would work 24/7.”

The Na­tional Pres­i­dent Petroleum Tanker Driv­ers (PTD), a branch of the Nige­ria Union of Petroleum and Nat­u­ral Gas Work­ers (NUPENG) Sal­imon Ola­diti said its po­si­tion on the mat­ter re­mained the po­si­tion of its par­ent body and the Petroleum and Nat­u­ral Gas Se­nior Staff As­so­ci­a­tion of Nige­ria (PENGASSAN).

PENGASSAN pres­i­dent Com­rade Fran­cis John­son ap­pealed to both gov­ern­ment and the mar­keters “to look at the larger in­ter­est of the Nige­rian na­tion and do what is need­ful.”

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