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Can FG fix associated crisis from oil marketers’ N800bn debt in election year?

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Aside the early warning signals already given by Nigerian organized labour over their running out of patience on government official delays in sending the Tripartite Committee Report on new minimum wage to the National Assembly, there are fears that the seven-day ultimatum given by oil marketers to the Federal Government to settle outstanding debts totalling N800 billion, remain two issues that must be treated before the 2019 elections.
Weekend, the marketers, comprising Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN), Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association (DAPPMA) and Independent Petroleum Products Importers (IPPIs), said failure to meet the deadline would force its members to disengage workers from depots.
Experts say carrying out the threats means fuel scarcity and possible disruption of campaigns and even the general elections come February next year.
Explaining more on the seven-days notice, Legal Adviser to IPPI, Mr Patrick Etim, noted that banks have taken over investments and assets of oil marketers over unpaid debts, saying “Marketers have no choice that to ask their workers to stay at home over unpaid salary arrears due to huge subsidy debts owed by the government”.
“The only way to salvage the situation is for government to pay the oil marketers the outstanding debts through cash option instead of promissory note being proposed.”
“As I speak, nothing has been done several months after assurances received by government saying it would pay off the outstanding debts.”
“The oil marketers have requested that FOREX differential and interest component of government’s indebtedness to marketers be calculated up to December 2018 and be paid within next seven days from the date of the letter sent to the government,’’ he said.
“At the inception of the current administration, marketers engaged the government with the view to secure approval for all outstanding subsidy-induced debts handed over to the current administration,’’ he said.
Whereas Etim said several thousand jobs were on the line in the industry, as oil marketers cut-down of their workforce due to inability to pay salaries, he recalled that the current administration paid part of the debts with a substantial portion of the subsidy interest and foreign exchange differential still pending.
Also speaking, the Executive Secretary of DAPPMA, Mr Olufemi Adewole, also confirmed the seven-day ultimatum notice, revealing that oil marketers on Nov. 28 served the ultimatum letter on the Debt Management Office (DMO), Minister of Finance, Chairman, Senate Committee on Petroleum Downstream, Department of State Services and Minister of State, Petroleum Resources.

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