…….banks directed to freeze interest on related loans
By Chibisi Ohakah
Petroleum products marketers have confirmed receiving payment of N236 billion from the federal government being the first tranche of the outstanding fuel subsidy claims. The payment of this money was the major reason the oil workers suspended their proposed nationwide strike action a fortnight ago.
Executive secretary of the Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association of Nigeria (DAPPMAN), Mr Olufemi Adewole, said, however, that the oil marketers still needed clarifications as regards the payments made by the federal government.
“Yes, we collected promissory notes, but we need clarification. DAPPMAN chief executive officers are reviewing the total scenarios and would meet with the Senate Committee, which has been of so much help to iron out things,” he told newsmen in Abuja yesterday He further confirmed that the payment was made via promissory notes, adding that DAPPMAN was already reviewing the situation.
Adewole confirmed that the petroleum marketers would be meeting with the Senate Committee on Downstream to address other pending issues. The federal government, through the chief operating officer, Downstream, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation [NNPC], Mr. Henry Ikem-Obih, dropped the hint about the payment early on Monday.
He said the federal government has paid the agreed N236 billion as first tranche of the outstanding subsidy claims to oil marketers. The federal government has equally directed banks through the Central Bank of Nigeria [CBN] to freeze interests on loans related to the scheme while making the payments.
“Yes, I can confirm that the promissory note has been issued; in fact, they were ready on Wednesday. The marketers got emails inviting them to come and receive them on Monday. By the end of Tuesday, they were actually ready from the Debt Management Office (DMO). We had a meeting with the CBN governor on Thursday and they were informed officially, the director general of DMO was there that they should pick up the promissory note,” he said
He said that the meeting with the CBN governor went very well. “One of the things that CBN governor has taken the initiative to do is to ask the banks to freeze the interest on any loan that are related to that scheme, the outstanding payment, from end of June 2017 to date. Those are some of the additional concessions that government has done,’’ he said, adding that all the promissory notes for this first tranche will mature by 2019.
“The CBN governor will give the Liquid assets status; so, it is as good as cash,’’ he added. Commenting on petrol scarcity, he said that at the moment, the country had in stock 2.7 billion litres of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) that would last for 54 days and still importing. He noted that in terms of supply, the NNPC was very robust and had never been this good in the least 10 years, at this time of the year.
“We are very good with distribution in terms of how much products is on land because 2.8 billion litres is what is between Lagos waters and land. Most Farm tanks cannot receive PMS at the moment; our vessels have to queue for days to be able to discharge to the storage.’’ He added