Business

Marketers to access N234b subsidy arrears in December

Oil marketers would have to wait till the end of 2019 to access N234billion subsidy arrears, which the Federal Government paid them in December 2018, through promissory notes.

The marketers include members of the Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN) and Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association of Nigeria (DAPPMAN).

MOMAN’s Secretary, Mr. Clemens Isong, in an interview with The Nation on phone,  said the promissory notes through which the government paid the marketers will mature December 31st, this year, adding that marketers are not in a hurry to sell the promissory notes to avoid more losses.

He said marketers chose not to sell the promissory notes at discounted rates as approved by law because they do not want to lose more money.

Isong said: “The government stated it explicitly in the promissory notes’ certificate that the notes would mature December this year and we (marketers) have resolved to wait to avoid further losses.

“The banks in which the marketers borrowed money from to finance their operation have accepted the promissory notes. Right now, reconciliation process is going on between the banks and the marketers, with a view to ascertaining the amount borrowed by marketers,” he said.

The development, Isong said, means that marketers should wait for some time in order to access the cash for operation, adding the issue is having undesirable consequences on their activities.

According to him, many marketers have either closed shops or died due to the debts owed them by the Federal Government, urging the banks to fast-track the issue of converting the promissory notes into cash.

He said it was DAPPMAN, which threatened to go on strike over non-payment of the subsidy arrears, adding his members have never done so.

Similarly, DAPPMAN’s Executive Secretary, Mr. Femi Adewole, said the promissory notes are yet to be accepted by some financial institutions, let alone commencing the process of converting them into cash for use by the marketers.

He, however, failed to mention the names of the affected banks in order not to strain the relationship existing between them and the marketers.

“Not all the banks have acted on the promissory notes given to marketers by the Federal Government, which serves as payment for the subsidy arrears owed them for importing petroleum. Some of the banks are waiting for what they described as ‘policy documents’ from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), before they start processing the promissory notes for onward conversion into cash. Nobody can say precisely when CBN would provide the so-called policy documents,” he added.

Adewole said there is lull in the activities of many marketers despite the payment of the first tranche of the subsidy arrears and plans by the Federal Government to settle all outstanding debts owed the marketers.

He said some DAPPMAN members are still afloat, by working to withstand the competition in downstream, while the operation of many marketers are in limbo.

The issue of payment of subsidy arrears owed marketers was enmeshed in controversy. The controversy culminated into different figures as the marketers had different amount and the government a different amount.

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