Fuel scarcity imminent as marketers insist on payment of N500b subsidy debt

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Some Independent Petroleum Marketers in Lagos have said fuel scarcity would resurface in the country if the Federal Government failed to pay their outstanding subsidy of N500 billion.
The marketers, who preferred anonymity, told the News Agency of Nigeria on Tuesday that government had not paid any marketer’s subsidy claim since August 2014 to date.
One of them said: “We met with the Vice President and the Group Managing Director of NNPC on this matter and they promised to be pay us between October and November but we have yet to receive any payment from government.
“We will be happy if the government can pay the outstanding because we are worried over the lingering fuel scarcity that will resurface in the country.
“Most of those who are selling petrol currently are few major marketers who received allocation directly on credit from Pipelines Products Marketing Company.
“None of the independent marketers, depot owners and some majors is selling the products.”
The marketers claimed that about 1,700 oil workers were laid-off due to inability to meet up with their salaries.
They said the non-payment of the subsidy claims and inability to get products allocations from government also contributed to the mass retrenchment.
A NAN correspondent who monitored the situation reports that fuel queues reappeared in some parts of Lagos as some stations had closed for business.
NAN observed that the situation was already taking a negative toll in the petroleum business supply chain because from Egbeda to Lagos-Abeokuta Expressway, fuel stations are not dispensing.
Motorists were seen queuing in anticipation that they would resume sales.
The situation was chaotic at the Conoil Station at National Bus Stop, close to the local Airport.
Long queues of vehicles compounded the traffic situation, extending to Ikeja under the bridge.
At Epe, none of the petrol stations there opened for sale, while those engaging in black market operations returned to the road to make brisk business out of the situation.
One of the station managers, who pleaded not to be named, told NAN that the situation might take a turn for the worse in few days.
He said for now, only the NNPC was importing because major marketers had been forced to down tools as a result of the huge subsidy debt.
He said: “At my depot, we only got about 10,000 metric tons last week and that is just about 400 cars.
“That cannot last for this week.
“The same with other depots that got last week.
“Unless government fulfils its obligations to marketers, the situation will not get better.”
The Executive Secretary of the Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria, Obafemi Olawore, had in June raised the alarm over the inability of Federal Government to offset over N300 billion subsidy claims.
NAN

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