The current fuel scarcity across the country may not come to an end soon, following the Federal Government’s N151 billion indebtedness to oil marketers, indications have emerged.
The Independent Petroleum Marketers’ Association of Nigeria, IPMAN, said that the Federal Government still owes oil marketers N151 billion outstanding fuel subsidy claims.
IPMAN said that sequel to the last fuel scarcity experienced nationwide, government made frantic efforts and released N41 billion for part-payment of what it owed marketers to enable them continue product supply, but before then government had not paid marketers since September 2013.
The executive secretary of the Petroleum Products Pricing and Regulatory Agency, PPRA, Mr. Ahmed Faruk, who did not specify the amount owed, also admitted that the non-payment to marketers is partly responsible for the fuel crisis being experienced in some parts of the country.
Faruk, however, said that over nine vessels were discharging about 200 million litres of premium motor spirit, PMS, otherwise known as petrol, across the country.
“From our report, we have over nine vessels currently engaged in discharging products in various depots across the country. From Calabar to Oghara, we have Lister Depot; it is supposed to be discharging for Oando.
“We have Atlas Cove vessels discharging for Pipeline and Products Marketing Company, PPMC. We have vessels discharging in Apapa. All in all we have over 200 million litres being discharged by various vessels.
“There is no need for any panic because we have the product. And I can advise the general public just to calm down and go about their normal businesses; not to panic as the product is available.”
Reacting to the money being owed to marketers, Faruk explained, “Before then, some of the marketers were finding it difficult to secure credit lines to open letters of credit to bring their importation. But I understand that payments were being made.”
Also, Faruk said that rumours of alleged moves by the Federal Government to increase the pump price of PMS led to the scarcity of fuel as some marketers began to hoard the product.