By Kayode Olarewaju
The Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association (DAPPMA) on Sunday night suspended its earlier directive to commence shutdown of depots across the country from loading petroleum products effective from 12-midnight today (Monday).
The suspension directive was contained in a statement issued around 1.20am by DAPPMA’s Executive Secretary, Olufemi Adewole on Monday in Lagos.
The statement said the association had issued a shutdown directive to its members following the continuing indebtedness of the Federal Government to petroleum marketers.
“However, following the intervention of well-meaning Nigerians including the National Assembly as represented by the Senate Committee of Petroleum Downstream and constructive engagement of the Federal Government team by the labor unions most affected by the disengagement of our personnel, namely, PENGASSAN, NUPENG NARTO, and the PTD, DAPPAM.
“The union has resolved to recall its disengaged personnel for 5-days to give the FG’s team the opportunity to conclude its process of paying marketers the full outstanding of N800 billion with the first trench being the amount already approved by the Federal Executive Council (FEC)
“The association has acted in good faith to avoid unnecessary hardship which could befall Nigerians during the yuletide season and we hope that government would make good its promise to see that those issues are resolved by Friday, Dec., 14, 2018 as promised.
“To this, end, our disengaged personnel would be recalled on Monday, Dec. 10 and considering the reactivation time or hitherto shut down a system, all depots with fuel stock should be fully active same day,’’ the statement said.
The statement said further that the conclusion of the debts payment would curtail the continuing wastage of public funds as interest accruing on the over N800 billion debt.
“DAPPMA depots are therefore advised to commence loading operations immediately and await further notification in respect of our long overdue payment.
It would be recalled that on Dec. 9 at about 8.30pm, DAPPAMA had directed its members to shut down all loading operations by midnight, adding that oil marketers had disengaged employees due to their inability to pay salaries.
It said that the Association took a bold step to stop the financial hemorrhaging of its members by the painful disengagement of its loyal workers after over three years of engaging with the government in the efforts to secure the payment of all subsidy-induced debt owed marketers.
According to DAPPMA, to avoid owing staff without any hope of pay, it is hereby agreed that since all our staff have been disengaged, all DAPPMAN member depot are not in a position to operate hence will shut down all loading at midnight
DAPPMA said that the decision of government claiming to settle N236 billion out of the outstanding N800 subsidy arrears was not acceptable to DAPPMA members, leading to last week’s Thursday meeting which ended in a deadlock.
They explained that the decision of the government to pay the N236 billion through promissory notes was equally rejected by the oil marketers.
‘‘As the name suggests, a promissory note is a payment instrument that is post-dated. Based on this when you approach the banks with the instrument, you don’t get the actual value on it.
“About 30 percent is knocked off because Government will be making the payment at a later date which ties down the bank’s capital,’’ he said