Nigerian Oil marketers have issued a seven-day ultimatum, demanding the Federal Government to settle their outstanding debts, totaling N800 billion.
In a statement today, Sunday in Lagos, the oil marketers said that they would shut down depots, thus disrupting fuel distribution, should the government fail to comply.
The marketers, made up of Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria, Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association and Independent Petroleum Products Importers, IPPI, said that they would make fuel distribution impossible nationwide.
Legal Adviser to IPPI. Patrick Etim, said that banks have taken over investments and assets of oil marketers over unpaid debts, adding that the marketers have no choice than to ask their workers to stay at home over unpaid salary arrears due to huge subsidy debts owed by the government.
“The only way to salvage the situation is for government to pay the oil marketers the outstanding debts through cash option instead of promissory note being proposed.
“As I speak, nothing has been done several months after assurances received by government saying it would pay off the outstanding debts.
“The oil marketers have requested that forex differential and interest component of government’s indebtedness to marketers be calculated up to December 2018 and be paid within next seven days from the date of the letter sent to the government.
”Etim said that several thousand jobs were on the line in the industry, as oil marketers begin to cut-down their workforce due to inability to pay salaries.
“At the inception of the current administration, marketers engaged the government with the view to secure approval for all outstanding subsidy-induced debts handed over to the current administration.”
The counsel said that the current administration paid part of the debts with a substantial portion of the subsidy interest and foreign exchange differential still pending.
The Executive Secretary of DAPPMA, Olufemi Adewole, confirmed the ultimatum notice and said that the oil marketers on November 28 served the ultimatum letter on the Debt Management Office, Minister of Finance, Chairman, Senate Committee on Petroleum Downstream, Department of State Services and Minister of State, Petroleum Resources.