Nigeria: Fuel scarcity returns, marketers demand release of N413bn subsidy
Some accredited oil subsidy marketers on Thursday said the failure of Federal Government to release the approved N413 billion subsidy debt was disrupting their fuel importation schedule.
The marketers who spoke in an interview with the media said that they were concerned that the money had not been released one week after the approval was granted.
They alleged that the delay was affecting loading activities at depots and had led to the shutting down of some filling stations due to non-availability of petroleum products.
“Government, through the Central Bank of Nigeria, has not released any subsidy claims as promised. As I am talking to you we have been directed by the CBN to go and meet the Debt Management Office for clarification.
“All our efforts to get the said money have been in vain and to start importing has been a serious problem. There is no money to back up the cheques presented to the marketers.
We do not even know the basis for the clarification of the cheques, but we are aware that there is no money in the account,” one of the marketers noted.
He added, “It is like giving the marketers cheques only to discover that there was no money in the account.
“Nothing like importing now because all marketers are angry because of the failed promised.”
According to him, “If you go outside Lagos you know how much they are selling fuel per litre now, it is the last stock that we are selling now. It is unfortunate that the Department of Petroleum (DPR) is saying that we are hoarding the products, which is not the truth.
“We have not collected a single coin from the money. If not the fact that some of the marketers are making some money from other products, how do you think we will be able to get anything for now?
“We have been summoned by DPR for a meeting this morning to settle the crisis, we are only managing what we have in stock at present,” he said.
Meanwhile, the newly-appointed Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu has given the assurance that fuel marketers will get the N413billion subsidy claims approved by the federal government next week once the National Assembly approves of it.
The assurance is coming at a time fuel queues are mounting in many states and oil marketers are threatening to stop importation of petroleum products.
Kachikwu said, “The money was approved by the president. The money has not reached them physically because there is a process that our constitution requires in terms of approving those set of (extra-budgetary) expenditures.”
Recall that the Federal Government, had on Nov. 3, approved the sum of N413 billion to petroleum products marketers as the outstanding payment for subsidy claims.