The Federal Government has begun moves to dialogue with oil marketers over debts owed them, to avert a fuel crisis in the forthcoming festive season.
The moves came amid reports that some of the marketers have dissociated themselves from last Sunday’s ultimatum for the payment of the outstanding fuel subsidy debt.
Executive Secretary, Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association, DAPPMA, Olufemi Adewole, said, yesterday, that Debt Management Office, DMO, has invited aggrieved marketers and depot owners to a crucial meeting on the matter.
Adewole said the meeting scheduled for today in the Ministry of Finance headquarters in Abuja, will discuss the concerns raised by the marketers in their ultimatum letter issued last Sunday.
The letter purportedly written by DAPPMA, along with Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria, MOMAN, and Independent Petroleum Products Importers, IPPIs, gave government seven days within which to pay over N800bn outstanding fuel subsidy debts in cash or risk the withdrawal of services.
Some of the oil marketers groups said to have joined in issuing the ultimatum, however, disowned the letter , yesterday.
With the deadline of the ultimatum barely four days away, Supervising Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, said government was proposing to offer over N340 billion in promissory notes to the marketers “in a few days’ time.”
But, the marketers said promissory notes would not help solve their immediate challenge of settling their workers’ salaries and sundry obligations.
Close followers of the debt dispute said yesterday that the meeting on today would provide the relevant government representatives a forum to dialogue with the marketers on possible ways to resolve the problem.
Regardless, Adewole said DAPPMA was not perturbed about reports that IPMAN and MOMAN were disowning the ultimatum to the Federal Government.