By Comfort Asuquo
THE Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria, MOMAN, has raised alarm over the Federal Government delay in settling its members’ fuel subsidy and banks’ interests, amounting to N130.7 billion.
Mr. Andrew Gbodume, Chairman of MOMAN, who addressed journalists in Lagos, yesterday stated that one of the major challenges the Nigerian downstream petroleum sector is facing is the non-payment of the long outstanding fuel subsidy.
He said: “One of the major challenges the Nigerian downstream petroleum sector is still facing is the non-payment of the long outstanding fuel subsidy to oil marketers, which stood at about N130.7 billion.”
“We appreciate the efforts of the National Assembly, but the non-payment creates a significantly negative impact on the operational efficiency of the downstream sector of the oil industry, thereby placing a severe strain on its efforts to continually invest in infrastructure and raise industry standards. We hope the debts will be paid in full to the oil marketers as soon as possible.”
Gbodume who commended the Pipelines Products Marketing Company, PPMA, in ensuring consistent supply of petroleum products within the country, added: “PPMC has demonstrated its resolve in guaranteeing a non-repeat of the scarcity the nation experienced at the end of 2017 and quite frankly has done well so far.
“However, with NNPC being the sole importer and supplier of petroleum products in Nigeria at the cost incurred, it should be clear to all Nigerians that this policy direction is not sustainable.’’
“We believe the path to fully achieving sustainable operating environment for the Nigerian petroleum industry begins with the downstream private sector. We feel the time is now to encourage a well informed and honest debate among ourselves as Nigerians on our downstream pricing policy, showing sensitivity to the fears of Nigerians and the challenges we face as a people and as an economy.”
“However, in the past 10-15 years, the downstream oil industry has been on a downward spiral. The lack of investment in the country’s infrastructure, the quality of the distribution network, the changes in international petroleum economics, or simply the inability to keep abreast with Health Safety Security Environment and Quality (HSSEQ) developments in other parts of the world, (including other African countries) have plagued the Nigerian petroleum industry, resulting in an unsustainable business model.