Marketers resume fuel import ahead of govt’s stance on subsidy
INDICATIONS emerged yesterday, that some oil marketers had resumed fuel importation regardless of the position of the new administration concerning the contentious subsidy regime which is still being awaited.
Currently, with improved fuel supply in the country, prices have been on downward trend in the filling stations, with market forces, under the present unofficial deregulation in the downstream sector, impacting on the pricing.
Already, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Department of State Security (DSS) have recommenced investigations into alleged fraudulent practices by some marketers in respect of crude swap programme and the Offshore Processing Agreements (OPAs) involving the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and some local oil and gas companies.
Indeed, reports showed that those affected in the on-going investigations include Aiteo, Sahara Energy, Ontario Oil and Taleveras. NNPC officials being questioned and under surveillance include the Managing Director of Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC), Tony Moneke; Executive Director, Commercial, PPMC, Frank Amego; Group General Manager, Crude Oil Marketing Division, Gbenga Komolafe; and former Managing Director of NPDC and later NNPC’s Group Executive Director, Exploration & Production, Abiye Membere.
However, the last may not have been heard of the subsidy saga, as the marketers claimed that their outstanding claims had soared by N90 billion since the start of the current fuel scarcity.
This indicates that the marketers have continued to import despite their initial threats of not importing until the Federal Government pays up their outstanding N200 billion.
The Guardian’s visit to some of the filling stations in Lagos State revealed that virtually all those belonging to major oil marketers were selling at N87 per litre, while the independent marketers were dispensing the product at N100 per litre.
Mobil, MRS, Total, Oando, Conoil and other majors sold at N87 per litre.
The immediate past Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister for the Economy, Ngozi Okonjo Iweala, had contested the N200 billion claimed by the marketers, under the aegis of Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN) and Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) leading to the establishment of a reconciliation committee which is yet to submit its report.
With the additional N90 billion, the Federal Government is now owing N290 billion as subsidy, the Executive Secretary, Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association, (DAPPMA), Olufemi Adewole, disclosed.
His counterpart at the Major Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN), Olufemi Olawore, said the debt was standing on the way of his members securing loans to enable them effect fresh supplies.
MOMAN, had a meeting with the Buhari administration, expressed optimism in the offsetting of the arrears, though owed by the outgone government which had promised to pay up the money.
According to the statement issued at the end of the meeting and signed by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Petroleum Resources, Taiye Haruna; the marketers agreed to commence immediate loading of the product to all parts of the country.
The statement said the meeting was tagged “Queue must go stakeholders platform”.