By Omoh Gabriel, Business Editor
Major oil marketers have warned that fuel scarcity may linger for a while as the federal government has not paid what it owes marketers who imported fuel into the country.
Oil marketers under the auspices of Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN) have decried the government’s inability to disburse the outstanding payments due to its members for the import of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) under the Petroleum Subsidy Fund Scheme (the “Scheme”).
In a letter addressed to the Honourable Minister of Finance/Coordinating Minister of the Economy Dr Mrs Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the association through its Executive Secretary, Mr Thomas Olawore, stated that despite previous assurances from the government to reimburse marketers the Under Recovery due to them as verified by the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA), the government has till date failed to honour its agreement.
The letter reads in part, “At the previous meeting, you empathised with the marketers and committed to full restitution provided these were verified by the Petroleum Product Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA). You also assured marketers that they would be fully reimbursed for the interest (incurred due to the late payment) and foreign exchange (Forex) differential elements of their Under Recovery within thirty (30) days of the meeting.
“Furthermore, you committed to immediately issuing Sovereign Debt Notes (SDNs) for the outstanding Under Recovery with full payment on or before April 28, 2015.
“Regrettably, despite your above commitment and assurances, the industry to date has only received approximately N30 billion in Forex differential claims out of the N100 billion owed. In the same vein, only N345 billion has been received in core subsidy payments covering payments up to Q2, 2014.
“Specifically only 3 companies out of the 6 MOMAN companies received payments for Forex differentials and no company, MOMAN or DAPPMA (Depot and Petroleum Products Marketing Association) has been paid interest charges on delayed payments.”
The letter noted that as at March 31, 2015, the total amount due to the marketers based on all claims verified by the PPPRA is in the region of N270 billion but revealed that only N200 billion was earmarked for them in the 2015 budget, this according to MOMAN constituted a “great cause of concern” for her members.
Similarly, MOMAN enumerated that the delays in the payment of the verified sums has ensured the marketers cannot fulfil their financial and non-financial obligations, notwithstanding this, they have continuously supplied adequate petroleum products into the country especially during the just concluded general elections.