Fuel Scarcity: Deduct N27bn from $2bn you owe us, Oil marketers tell FG

Oil marketers on Thursday asked the Federal Government to deduct the N27bn they owed the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation from the $2bn that it owed them.

The marketers stated that the petrol scarcity being experienced across the country would have been averted if the NNPC had listened to their warnings in October that there was a drop in supply of Premium Motor Spirit (petrol).

On Wednesday, the NNPC attacked the Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association over the statement by DAPPMA that its members had no petrol in their tanks despite the corporation’s claims of importing millions of litres of petrol.

The national oil firm also stated that DAPPMA members owed it the sum of N26.7bn for products received from it, adding that the statement credited to the association on the fuel supply situation, especially PMS, was very unfortunate.

But while speaking on a television programme monitored by our correspondent in Abuja on Thursday, the Executive Secretary, Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria, Mr. Obafemi Olawore, asked the government to deduct the marketers’ debt from the $2bn it owed the oil dealers.

He said, “I know they (NNPC) were referring to DAPPMA, but talking about who is owing who, this is all about trade; we are always buying from the NNPC to sell. So sometimes, we owe and other times we are in credit, but the truth is that the government is owing us.

“And we have agreed with the government since June that when you (government) are going to pay us, deduct whatever we are owing you. Collectively, marketers in the industry are owed close to $2bn, so you can’t compare it to N27bn. It is not only the NNPC that we are owing.”

He added, “We owe other government agencies, but we are saying that let’s start from the biggest and that is the fuel subsidy, the interest and the foreign exchange. We’ve done several reconciliations supervised by the Chief of Staff (to the President) and the Federal Ministry of Finance.

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“So nobody is saying we are not owing, rather the government is owing us more and they should pay us and deduct whatever we are owing them.”

When asked why oil marketers were hoarding and diverting petrol as claimed by the Group Managing Director of the NNPC, Dr. Maikanti Baru, the MOMAN spokesman stated, “I wish we could meet face-to-face and I will tell him (Baru) when the problem started and when we started warning.

“I’d stated in the past that if you leave the NNPC as the sole importer of products, you will get to a point where the slightest shock will create a problem. The truth must be told, they (NNPC) are just getting the supply in some appreciable quantities. The supply dropped in October up until some two, three weeks ago; that’s the truth!”

Olawore added, “Supply into the system dropped and somebody must own up to this. I’m not here to pass any blame; we are here to see how we can solve the problem and after that, we can sit at the table to look at what went wrong and how to prevent it from happening again. But we all saw it coming.

“We saw it coming and we said it that your suppliers are defaulting; they are not supplying enough.”

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