It was reported that the recurrent fuel scarcity being witnessed in many parts of the country, particularly in Lagos and Abuja, continued yesterday, showing no signs of easing up, while respite seems not in sight for motorists and residents.
This was even as oil marketers disclosed that they have suspended the importation of Premium Motor Spirit, PMS, into the country due to the failure of the Federal Government to pay them their claims.
A top source in the depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association, DAPPMA, told newsmen that majority of the oil marketers are yet to be paid by the Federal Government, making it impossible for them to secure fresh funds from the banks to finance fuel import.
The source called on the Federal Government to pay the marketers the amount being owed, stating that out of the huge amount owed DAPPMA members only about N4 billion was paid to some of them a few days ago while others are yet to be paid.
It was said that: “The money that the marketers were paid by the Federal Government was, according to the banks, like a tip of the iceberg, compared to the huge amount the marketers owe the banks. Majority of the marketers are not able to repay their indebtedness to the banks, making it impossible for them to secure new facilities from the banks to finance fuel import.
“We want the Federal Government to pay the debt owed marketers as it is only then will we be able to repay our debts to the banks and secure fresh credit facilities from the banks to enable us finance our fuel import.”
It was further stated that majority of the oil marketers have stopped importing fuel, despite the fact that they have gotten the approval of the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency, PPPRA, to import.
It was noted:“We have approval to import fuel, but we do not have money to finance the import. The banks told us that they have a ceiling for borrowing and they have reached their borrowing limit, with oil companies accounting for a substantial portion of the loans.
“We are asking the Federal Government to pay us the claims we are being owed so that we can have money to offset our debts and finance fuel imports.”