Subsidy Debts: MOMAN appeals to FG on quick payment of N130.7bn

Dr Ibe Kachikwu: oil minister

Dr Ibe Kachikwu

The Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN) has appealed to the Federal Government to expedite action on the prompt payment of the N130.7 billion outstanding subsidy debts owed members.

Mr Andrew Gbodume, the Chairman of MOMAN, made the appeal while briefing Energy Correspondents in Lagos on Monday.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that MOMAN is a downstream oil and gas group made up of six major marketers which include 11Plc (formerly Mobil Oil Nigeria), Conoil, OVH Energy Marketing Limited, Forte Oil, MRS and Total..

Gbodume said that inability of the Federal Government to pay the debts had affected the mutual relationship of members of the association with their banks in sourcing for loans.

He urged the government to effect payment of the outstanding debts on subsidy since audit and agreement had been carried out since July.

According to him, delayed in the payment of the debts has affected MOMAN members negatively.

“Since inception, MOMAN has progressively gained a reputation in the Nigerian petroleum industry as a key player.

“But, one of the major challenges the downstream petroleum sector is still facing is the non-payment of the long outstanding fuel subsidy to oil marketers.

“We appreciate the efforts of the National Assembly, but the non-payment creates a significantly negative impact on the operational efficiency of the downstream sector of the oil industry.

“It has, thereby placed severe strain on its efforts to continually invest in the infrastructure and raise industry standards.

“We hope that the debts will be paid in full to the oil marketers as soon as possible,” the chairman of MOMAN said.

Gbodume, who puts the debt owed MOMAN members at N130.7 billion as at August 2018, stated that once reconciliation has been done and particular figure was agreed as debt, he could not understand why settlements have not been made.

He stressed that marketers are working tirelessly with the Petroleum Products Marketing Company (PPMC) to ensure fuel availability and prevent fuel scarcity that rocked the nation in December 2017.

“We need to move away from the present arrangement because downstream sector needs investment. The banks are not willing to lend to downstream sector because of the present arrangement,” he said.

Gbodume said that currently, only NNPC was importing 100 per cent petroleum products, while members of the association were collecting products from NNPC and pay within two weeks.

“No MOMAN members are importing petroleum products, because no bank is ready to loan us due to our inability to pay the outstanding debts owed by marketers,” he said.

The MOMAN chairman, however, commended the PPMC for its efforts over the years in ensuring consistent product supplies.

“We cannot, but acknowledge and appreciate the efforts of the PPMC over the last few months in ensuring consistent supply of petroleum products within the country.

“PPMC has demonstrated its resolve to guaranteeing a non-repeat of the scarcity, which the nation experienced at the end of 2017, and quite frankly has done well so far,” he said.

The chairman said that the association was currently engaging petroleum drivers and transporters to ensure the use of the truck loading bay provided to ease free flow of traffic at Apapa Bridge.

He said that MOMAN has established a committee to self regulate its members by collaborating with the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) and Department of Petroleum Reasources (DPR) to improve minimum transportation standard.

“MOMAN began in the early 2000s as coordination, a marketers operations committee, whose role was to liase with NNPC for petroleum product supply and distribution throughout Nigeria.

“However, in the past 10 to 15 years, the downstream oil industry has been on a downward spiral and lack of investment in the country’s infrastructure.

“Others are quality of the distribution network, the changes in international petroleum economic, simply the inability to keep abreast with Health Safety Security Environment and Quality (HSSEQ) development in other part of the world,” Gbodume added.