By Sebastine Obasi
Nigerians may be thrown into another wave of fuel scarcity in the next two weeks as a result of fresh controversy over the N650 billion debt owed marketers.
In a letter dated February 20, 2018 and sent to the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association of Nigeria, DAPPMAN, stated that its members are continually under pressure and threatened by banks to take over their retail outlets nationwide due to debts owed them.
It stated, “We are continually under pressure by, our banks/AMCON, with looming threats of imminent take-over of our petrol stations and tank farms and other creditor labour unions, NARTO/PTD to whom we are substantially indebted due to past freight services.
“In the light of the fore going, Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association of Nigeria (DAPPMAN) members do not have any other option open to us to forestall increasing debt burdens of borrowing to pay staff than to immediately commence massive staff disengagement as earlier forewarned in our letter of 24th January, 2018, where we had, in the light of the above and after exhausting all formal avenues to secure payment of these debts, alerted the Federal Government, via a 21-day notice to the likelihood of disengaging personnel; a last resort to curtail spiralling borrowings and interests in the effort to meet salary obligations to underutilised personnel.”
DAPPMAN explained that its impending action was due to lukewarm attitude of the Federal Government over the plights of its members.
“Subsequent to our letter ref: DS/ES/Presidency/16 dated 24th Jan, 2018 and copied to you (as attached), we again observe a lack of response, on the part of the Federal Government, to the plight of petroleum marketers, many of which have become financially insolvent.
“The unfortunate primary fallout of this step is the likely shut down of all DAPPMAN depots nationwide due to lack of man power to operate same pending the time the Federal Government will pay off its indebtedness to petroleum marketers. This unfortunately will have a multiplier effect on the nationwide supply and distribution of petroleum products which presently is still a struggle.
“This letter serves as a fresh 14-day reminder from today and an opportunity for the Federal Government tiers and its agencies to speedily approve and pay off its remaining subsidy era indebtedness to all our members and indeed all petroleum marketing companies. Whilst we would remain expectant of Federal Government’s positive response and financial instruments to offset the debts owed, please accept the assurances of our highest regards,” it added.