Marketers are likely to record positive growth if the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) directive to commercial banks on freezing interests on loans taken by them (marketers) to import petroleum products into the country is implemented, the Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association of Nigeria(DAPPMAN),Executive Secretary, Mr Femi Adewole, has said.
The marketers include members of the Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN), Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) and Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association of Nigeria (DAPPMAN).
In an interview with The Nation on phone, he said banks have been mandated by CBN to freeze the interests on loans given to marketers to import fuel into the country, adding that marketers would have some money for operation should the banks comply with the directive of the apex bank.
He said marketers are in limbo following their inability to raise funds for operation, adding that the stoppage of interests on their loans is bound to bring growth.
Adewole said: “Banks are supposed to freeze the interests on facility used for fuel importation in line with the CBN’s directive. They are supposed to net-off interests on oil subsidy loans. Every interest on debt incurred by marketers, as a result of importation of Petrol Premium Spirit (PMS), as from July 4, 2018 till date, is expected to be net-off by banks.
“If some of the debts owed by marketers in the course of bringing fuel into the country are written off by banks, the better for marketers and the industry. That is why the issue of writing off the debts of the marketers is vital to the operation of the marketers and the industry.
Banks, Adewole said, are not helping matter on the issue of payment of the subsidy arrears N237billion owed marketers by the Federal Government. This, he said, was evident by the ways and manners in which banks are handling the issue of payment of the subsidy arrears.
“While some banks have acted on the promissory notes submitted to them by marketers, others are not. Often times, some banks are saying that they have not gotten ‘Policy Document’, which would enable them to start processing the promissory notes. This implies that a longer period of time would be spent by banks on the issue of processing the promissory notes. This means marketers would not get the subsidy arrears in time,” he said.
The issue of payment of subsidy arrears has generated a lot of controversy between the Federal Government and the marketers as both parties were divided on the actual amount of money owed as subsidies. While this lasted, the government in conjunction with the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, Ministry of Finance, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and the Debt Management Office (DMO) conducted investigation into fuel imports over a period of time. Subsequently, the government resolved to pay the subsidy arrears in three tranches, with the first trance paid to the marketers in form of promissory notes in December 2018.
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