From Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
The Federal Government has ordered the Petroleum Equalisation Fund to immediately pay the sum of N150 billion owed petroleum marketers in the country to forestall any threat to the steady supply of fuel.
The order was given at a meeting between the Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari and key players in the downstream sector.
The N150 billion is said to be the bridging cost for the delivery of petroleum products across the country.
Speaking after the closed-door meeting which lasted for about two hours the National Secretary of Independent Petroleum Marketers
Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), Zarma Mustapha told newsmen that the government should commence immediately after the order.
According to Mustapha, “The meeting had nothing to do with increase in petroleum pump prices
“We looked into the issue of diesel and kerosene and as a matter of fact government is tackling the issues
“The other issue is the issue of franchise which is the petroleum equalisation fund which marketers are owed petroleum equalisation to the tune of about 150 billion and now the issue has been resolved, the government has directed that our monies must be paid and I am assuring you that with the payment of this money there is no cause for alarm”.
He called on marketers to go back to their terminal and continue loading petroleum products as they will be paid in a few days.
“We are assuring our marketers that they should go back to their normal business as their outstanding will be paid in some few days” .
Mustapha added that there will be another meeting between the stakeholders and the financial authorities and then the payment will commence hopefully before the week runs out.
He maintained that there would not be an increase in pump prices of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) after the payment as some filling stations will sell for N140 as against N145 per litter.
“The government has instructed the minister of finance to pay the marketers and they have assured they will pay and as soon as the payment is done instead of N145 per litre, it can go for as low as N140 per litre” the scribe said. So there should be no worries about increment of PMS”.
The pump price of PMS was in May last year, increased price from N97 to N145.
The IPMAN scribe had on Tuesday said that Independent Marketers imported a mere 10 percent of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) needs of the country and they were expected to contribute N6.20 per liter as bridging allowance for all imported products in a revolving fund while they also submit ticket to PEF for claims after product delivery if the vehicle destination falls outside the 450 kilometer National Transport Average (NAT) as provided in the enabling statute.
He also decried the fact that the debt has hampered smooth distribution of petroleum products across the country as members who took loans to set up filling stations were under heavy debt burden from interests that have accrued from such obligation.
It was gathered that the meeting between Kyari and the downstream sector first held on Tuesday and reconvened yesterdaay to take the final decision.
Those at the meeting which held at the Chief of Staff’s Conference Room includes the Aviation Minister, Hadi Sirika, General Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) Kachalla Maikanti Barum, representatives of Independent and Major Oil Marketers Associations. Finance Minister, Kemi Adeosun, Heads of Petroleum Product Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) and the Petroleum Pipelines and Products Marketing Company (PPMC) .