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Fuel Subsidy: Marketers groan as middlemen smile to bank- THE CITIZEN

By The Citizen
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Nigeria's independent oil marketers are groaning over heavy debts owed them by the Federal Government of Nigeria for petroleum products imported into the country in the last twelve months; a debt said to be over N100billion.

The development was confirmed by a senior official of one of the oil marketers who told our correspondent in a telephone chat that the subsidy claims being owed by the Federal Government is seriously impacting negatively on their businesses, adding that due to the debt, most of the marketers are not importing fuel presently.

'Some of the oil marketers are being owed huge amount of money despite several assurances by the government that the areas will be cleared. We were told that they were verifying our claims. But does it take ages to do so at this time and age? You should have in mind that most of the trading money was borrowed from the banks and you can imagine the mount of interests it must have accumulated over these years, 'he said.

According to him, it is this development that caused the long queues you find in some filling stations presently. 'Since most importers are not importing due to the debt, the much that the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation is importing can never be sufficient to serve the country. But if they regularise the payments, I am sure that normalcy will certainly return,' he said.

He said that despite recent letters from the Department of Petroleum Resources and Pipelines and Products Marketing Company Limited, warning marketers from hiking the prices of petroleum products, it is certain that the middle men are the ones inflating the prices in order to make quick profit.

'Since there is scarcity of products, the middle men are taking advantage of the situation to hike the prices and there is nothing any marketer can do about it because at that level, it is out of our control. The sharp practice is what is affecting the prices and I am sure that they are praying for the situation to continue so that they will continue to smile to the banks.

'I am making a passionate appeal to the government to come to our rescue. Our businesses are going down and it is only government's intervention that can alleviate the ugly situation by offsetting the debts. The situation is very bad,' he said.

It could be recalled that in March, 2014, the Federal Ministry of Finance paid the sum of N41, 074,772,210.95 to 27 oil marketers whose claims scaled the verification processes.

According to Paul Nwabuikwu, Special Adviser to the Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance, the 27 oil marketers so far paid include A-Z Petroleum Products Limited; ACORN Petroleum PLC; AITEO Energy Resource Limited; ASCON Oil and Gas Company Limited; AVIDOR Oil and Gas Company; Conoil PLC; DEE JONES Petroleum and Gas Ltd; DOZZY Oil and Gas Limited.

Others are: Folawiyo Energy Ltd; GULF Treasures Ltd; HUDSON Petroleum Ltd; HYDE Energy (NIG) Ltd; IBAFON Oil Ltd; MASTERS Energy Oil and Gas Ltd; MATRIX Energy Ltd; MOBIL OIl Nigeria Plc; MRS Oil and Gas Company Ltd.

The rest are: NEPAL Oil and Gas Serv. Ltd; NIPCO Plc; NORTHWEST Petroleum and Gas Ltd; OANDO Plc; OBAT Oil and Gas Services Ltd; RAINOIL Ltd; SHORELINK Oil and Gas Services Ltd; TECHNO Oil Ltd; TEMPOGATE Oil and Energy Company and TOTAL Nigeria Plc.