Marketers threaten depots’ shutdown over oil subsidies


The Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association of Nigeria (DAPPMAN) has petitioned President Muhammadu Buhari and Minister of State for Petroleum Resources Ibe Kachikwu over the non-payment of their outstanding subsidy in excess of N650 billion.

The marketers issued a fresh 14-day ultimatum to the Federal Government to pay up, failing which they would shut down their depots and embark on a massive sack of workers.

The development could set back government’s efforts at easing the scarcity of petroleum products.

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) uses the private depots to stock most of its imported products for a fee due to a shortage of storage facilities in the country.

The association said: “The unfortunate primary fallout of this step is the likely shutdown of all DAPPMAN depots nationwide due to lack of manpower 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 currently is still a struggle.”

The ultimatum, contained in a letter signed by Executive Secretary Olufemi Adewole, notes: “Subsequent to our letter ref: DS/ES/Presidency/16 dated January 24, 2018 and copied to you, we again observe a lack of response on the part of the Federal Government to the plight of petroleum marketers, many of whom have become financially insolvent.”

The Guardian gathered that the demand became inevitable as a result of buck-passing between the executive, represented by the Ministry of Finance, and legislators. While the ministry insisted the sum had been forwarded for legislative approval, the lawmakers denied receiving any notification.

Last year, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo directed Minister of Finance Kemi Adeosun to pay oil marketers all outstanding subsidy claims, estimated at about $2 billion after verification and study of the legal implication of continued delay.

The minister, however, noted that although the Federal Executive Council approved promissory notes for settlement of the arrears and other liabilities inherited from the previous administration, the National Assembly was yet to approve the payments.

Having waited years for the payment, which continues to attract huge bank interests, the association, therefore, petitioned the Federal Government, noting:
“Marketers are continually under pressure by banks and the Asset Management Company of Nigeria (AMCON), with looming threats of imminent take-over of our petrol stations and tank farms by creditors, labour unions, Nigerian Association of Road Transport Owners and Petroleum Tanker Drivers (NARTO/PTD), to whom we are substantially indebted due to past freight services.”

In the light of the foregoing, the association said it had no option but stop borrowing to pay staff and immediately commence massive disengagement of staff, as forewarned in its January 24 letter, where it gave the Federal Government a 21-day notice to pay up.