Indications have emerged that commercial banks that assisted several downstream oil and gas investors with deep pocket loans, having tried every legal processes to get back their facilities are now combing nook and crannies of the country searching investments and properties belonging to their debtors’ for seizure.
As at the last count, National Daily can authoritatively report that affected banks (names with held) had taken over 15 tanks, filling stations and properties used as collateral by some operators whose debt dates far back into former administration of Goodluck Jonathan.
In a media chat, Head of Energy, Ecobank Plc, Dolapo Oni, said bank’s exposure to the oil sector in the last few years had not been rosy.
He said the debt figure in the oil and gas sector was still very large, adding that measures were now being taken by banks to get some of the debtors to sell some of their assets.
The executive secretary of Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN), Obafemi Olawore, in an interview, confirmed the development, saying the marketers were unable to offset their loans due to non-payment of a $2 billion outstanding subsidy by the Federal Government.
Before now, he said the group had severally made diligent presentation to the federal government, but nothing positive came out of the approaches, thus forcing banks to look for their money by all means after all.
Olawore said the marketers consisting of the MOMAN, Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), and Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association (DAPPMA) were under intense pressure from banks to pay back loans obtained to import petroleum products during the subsidy era in the country.
The official noted that the unpaid interest and foreign exchange differentials arising from the subsidy claims had led to insolvency and rendered the marketers financially handicapped to continue operations.
According to him, part of the drive to save the marketers will include the reimbursement of MOMAN members so that they can be alive to their businesses once more.