By Kemi Olaitan
The Federal government said on Saturday that oil marketers would be paid N236 billion out of N348 billion approved by the National Assembly as outstanding subsidy claims on Friday, Dec. 14th.
The Chief Operating Officer, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) Downstream Mr Henry Ikem-Obih disclosed this to newsmen, in Abuja.
“The Debt Management Office (DMO) will by next week precisely on Dec. 14th pay oil marketers first part of the subsidy arrears of N236 billion as agreed by both parties.
“ We agreed that after the first tranche is paid, the marketers will form a committee to work on details of how the next tranche will be paid in 2019 and the last paid in 2020.
“Government is fully committed to paying the first tranche as promised and will be paid through a promissory note that will be issued by the DMO,’’ he said.
Ikem-Obih said that oil marketers equally owed the government some debt which would not be deducted from the first tranche of payment.
He said that it was unfortunate that Depot and Petroleum Product Marketers Association of Nigeria (DAPPMAN) had issued a counter statement from what was agreed at the meeting held with all stakeholders on Thursday.
It will be recalled that stakeholders in the oil sector held a meeting at the Ministry of Finance on Thursday, Dec. 6th and reached an agreement on how to pay outstanding subsidy claims to marketers.
DAPPMAN on Friday issued a counter-statement saying that there was no agreement reached with the government because it failed to reach legitimate demands of the association which were that the claims should be paid in cash instead of through the promissory notes.
He said that Independent Petroleum Marketers Association (IPMAN), DAPPMAN, Major Oil Marketers of Nigeria (MOMAN) CBN, PPPRA, among others were part of the meeting.
“Government is committed to doing what we agreed on and that is why they get the first tranche by next week.
“We have told marketers that what government is doing now is honest and highly transparent,’’ he added.
Ikem-Obih urged Nigerians not to panic as the NNPC and all other stakeholders will ensure that there was no scarcity of the product throughout the yuletide season.
“Currently, we have 55 days of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) storage in the Country which translates to 2.8 million litres in volume and 90,000 metric tonnes of Diesel.
“ The 90,000 metric tonnes is supplied by NNPC and it’s subsidiary PPMC and we will continue to import,’’ he added
He said that apart from imported products that the Warri refinery had on Thursday started refining products and the Port Harcourt refinery would soon kick off refining.
This, he said would continue to boost the quantity of product in the country.
In an interview, some marketers who spoke to News Agency of Nigeria(NAN) have commended the government and assured that they would support efforts that would ensure smooth supply and distribution of petroleum products in the country.
Alhaji Aliyu Sa’id Managing Director AA Rano Petroluem said that national interest must be upheld and it would be wise for DAPMAN to give the government a chance.
“We have enough products and we will not shut down for any reason, we do not want Nigerians to suffer during this period and that is why we are supporting government effort,’’ he said
Also, managing Director of AYM Shafa filling station said that they would work to ensure that there was no scarcity in the country during the yuletide season.
“We will support government efforts to ensure smooth supply and distribution of products especially during the Christmas season,’’ he added.
NAN reports that other marketers who promised ensure a free flow of the product in the country include Obat oil PLC, ED Tonimas Nigeria Limited, among others. (NAN)