Oil marketers nationwide are planning to go on an indefinite strike, thereby shutting down all depots. They claim the Federal Government has refused to settle accumulated subsidy debts of over N800 billion.
This decision is contained in a joint communique issued by the marketers on Tuesday, after their joint National Executive Council (NEC) meeting held in Lagos.The oil marketers are bitter over what they describe as the continuous deteriorating welfare of its members working in the various companies owned by oil marketers.
The marketers made up of various unions such as the Independent Petroleum Products Importers (IPPIs), Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN), and the Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association (DAPPMA) have acknowledged receipt of the planned strike by the unions, have also threatened to shut down their depots, until the liquidity problems in the downstream sector by the Federal Government is resolved.
The oil marketers disclosed that the Federal Government through the intervention of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo(while acting as President) had in June 2017 made a commitment to pay the outstanding bills before the end of July. According to them, Osinbajo had ordered a reconciliation exercise between the marketers and the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA).
“For the banks, their action is to see how they can avert another round of banking system failure that could be triggered by this huge outstanding non-performing loans owed the banks by oil marketers who cannot pay because the government is yet to pay them,”
“Further to the reconciliation, it was gathered that the Federal Executive Council had approved the payment. However, the payment framework was said to have been sent to the National Assembly for approval and up till now there has been no feedback.
“We gathered from reliable sources that the National Assembly claimed that they are yet to receive any such request from the finance minister,”
According to the marketers as stated in the communique, part of the N800 billion debt arose from the non-payment of the balance of over N300 billion under-recoveries on the basis of the PPPRA importation template. They explained that only about 20 per cent of the amount provided for in the 2016 budget was actually paid to marketers in August 2016, while government had promised to pay the balance within three months, adding that nothing further has been paid despite reassurances from government.