Oil marketers in the country have issued a 7-day notice to the Federal Government to settle all outstanding debts, including foreign exchange differentials and interest rate components, owed marketers in cash.
The ultimatum is coming following inability of the Federal Government to pay the outstanding debts of over N800 billion despite pleas by the oil marketers.
The marketers, under the aegis of the Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria, MOMAN; Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association, DAPPMA; and the Independent Petroleum Products Importers, IPPIs, said that failure to meet the deadline, will force its members to disengage their workers, and loading of petrol at depots would automatically seize.
Mr Patrick Etim, the Legal Adviser to IPPIs, who confirmed the development in Lagos on Sunday, said the 7-day ultimatum became necessary as all investments and assets of oil marketers were being taken over by banks, while payment of workers’ salaries remained a serious dilemma for the oil firms.
According to Etim, marketers have asked their workers to stay at home from December 1 as salaries could not be paid due to the huge debts owed by the government on subsidy.
Etim said several thousand jobs were on the line in the oil and gas industry, as oil marketers have begun to cut down their workforce due to inability to pay salaries
The counsel disclosed that the current administration paid part of the debts with a substantial portion of the subsidy interest and foreign exchange differential still pending, in spite the then acting President Yemi Osinbajo call for urgent intervention and directive to the former Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, to work towards the settlement of the debt.
Similarly, Executive Secretary, DAPPMA, Olufemi Adewole, confirmed that oil marketers had given government 7-day ultimatum to pay all outstanding debt owed marketers.
Adewole disclosed that the ultimatum letter was served on November 28 to the Debt Management Office, Minister of Finance, Chairman, Senate Committee on Petroleum (Downstream), Department of State Services and the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources.