Petrol scarcity: Oil marketers, Okonjo-Iweala reconcile debt figures

A disabled man, Adamu, hawks fuel on a desolate Constitution Avenue Road in Abuja. Photo: femi Ipaye

Nigeria’s finance minister and the The Major Oil Markers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN) have met to reconcile the actual debt being owed by government to the oil importers.

While government claimed it was owing less than N100 billion, the marketers put their claim at N200 billion.

It has also emerged that what government paid recently was not N156 billion, but N154 billion.

The MOMAN was represented by its executive secretary, Femi Olawore.

Both the minister and Olawore jointly briefed the media in Abuja.

On the outstanding payment, Olawore said marketers always calculated up to date as business people, attributing it to difference in the figures between marketers and government.

Responding, Okonjo-Iweala said that government had appealed to the group and it had agreed that following the payment of the N154 billion, the members would make the products available.

“We really welcomed the news that has been announced by the marketers and we thank them, especially with the discussion that makes the truck owners to move the products.

“On our own side, we are looking at issues they have on the table; government is a continuum and I think that you found that whatever the issues are, it would be resolved so that Nigerians will not suffer,’’ she said.

Commenting on the outstanding payments, she said “what I want you to understand is that this is a rolling business and that is what we actually discussed toady.

“There is no one definite figure; even as we speak, by the time we leave, the executive of PPPRA may have cleared some more Sovereign Debt Notes (SDN) and the figures will change.”

She added that as at last week when N154 billion was paid, N98 billion was outstanding but presently, more SDN had been cleared.

According to her, the amount to be paid as outstanding is never a fixed sum for the total year.

The minister said that government throughout the year had been paying, including the ones in the years before.

She said that there would not be need to be fixed on the argument of whether the outstanding was N98 billion or N200 billion.

“As long as they continue to supply fuel to Nigerians, there will always be something to be paid.

“When this administration took over, monies were owed and we paid; this will continue and it rolls on everyday and you clear the money as you go.

Olawore gave the assurance that the fuel supply situation in Abuja will soon improve.

“The owners of the trucks have agreed to allow their trucks to start loading. As we speak, there have been loading.

“Those of you can call your friends in Lagos; they will all confirm that Lagos is getting better by the hour but because of the distance between Lagos and Abuja, it will take sometimes before Abuja gets to the normal position,’’ he said.

According to him, in a couple of days, Abuja will also have the relief of the situation.