Nigerians should prepare as another fuel scarcity looms large in the horizon, if indications coming from the various unions involved are anything to go by.
National Daily gathered that oil marketers are protesting the non-payment of over N800 billion subsidy claims by the Federal Government. This has led to their making moves to shut down depots nationwide until the payment of the claims, which they claim has left their members financially handicapped and insolvent.
According to the marketers as stated in a 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.
Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN), Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association (DAPPMA) and the Independent Petroleum Products Importers (IPPIs), the four oil marketers’ unions involved claim that the debt had been acknowledged by the FG but had not been approved despite the provision for it in both the 2015 supplementary budget and the 2016 budget.
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).
Secondly, as if the threat by the oil marketers is not enough, the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) and Nigerian Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) have also indicated that they would be embarking on an indefinite strike anytime soon.
The reasons for their proposed strike are however, a little trickier than the money-related issues of the oil marketers. According to them, apart from the backlog of salaries owed their members by the oil marketers, they want a redress of the looming job losses in the downstream sector and the current situation which they described as a “continuous deteriorating welfare of their members.”