LAGOS – Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN) says its members are handicapped to import refined petrol products following the Federal Government’s non-payment of outstanding subsidy claims.
Mr. Olawore Obafemi, Executive Secretary, MOMAN, disclosed this in a telephone interview with the newsmen in Lagos.
Obafemi said that the lingering fuel scarcity was caused by the inability of marketers to import petrol into the country since February.
He said that the federal government had failed to pay the marketers the outstanding on the current foreign exchange rate with interest.
According to him, MOMAN members’ funds incapacitation and their inability to access new loans from banks had made it difficult to import refined petrol.
“We are sure that once government pays marketers we will start importing.
“We have been appealing to government to pay us our subsidy claims in other to avert this kind of situation but they never did, so, you can see the situation we have found ourselves in.
“We will start importing once government pays our foreign exchange, interest rate differential on subsidy,’’ he said.
Obafemi said that federal government has promised to pay foreign exchange and interest rate differentiate this week, adding that government has also promised to discuss with banks toward extending further credits to marketers.
“Bank has promised to open letters of credits for us once federal government discuss with them on the credit note.
“CBN has also shown interest in given us form ‘M’ to stand as approval letter on foreign exchange,’’ he added.
The secretary however warned its members to desist from selling petrol above pump price and hoarding of products, stressing marketers caught in such unwholesome acts will be punished.
Meanwhile, NAN reports that the petrol scarcity has enveloped Lagos, as motorists’ queued in most of the filling stations to buy the product.
Some of the operators said that queues were reinforced by the depletion of volume of petrol in most depots in Lagos.
Some of the station’s managers said that oil marketers are no longer importing petrol because of outstanding debts owed by the Federal government under the Petroleum Support Fund.
Oando station Manager in Maryland who preferred to remain anonymous said that the depot operators were rationing stock.
He said his depot received about 33,000 litres of petrol on March 1, 2015 and was not sure of replenishing the stock due to the high demand.
“I cannot say exactly what is happening but from the depots we observe they are managing the available stock, the manager said.
It was also reported that some of the stations along Ikorodu road, Lagos Island, Ikeja and its environs remained closed.
However, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) in statement at the weekend reassured the nation and said that 688 million liters of petrol would be injected into market within 48 hours to ease supply nationwide.