The Nigerian Government says it has been able to reach a concrete agreement with petroleum marketers in the country on issues surrounding the settlement of their unpaid subsidy claims.
Riding on the agreement, the Government assured Nigerians that all operations across oil depots in the country will continue until further notice.
According to a statement by Mr. Paul Ella Abechi, the Special Adviser to the Minister of Finance on Media and Communications, the oil marketers and the Federal Government team reached an agreement during a meeting held at the finance ministry’s headquarters in Abuja.
The oil marketers had threatened to shut down oil operations across depots in the country if the Government did not settle all outstanding subsidy claims owed them within seven days.
However, the finance ministry is now confident activities at the depots will continue after Thursday’s meeting which was attended by its officials as well as senior government officials from the Debt Management Office (DMO), the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), the Budget Office of the Federation, the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation and the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA).
Representatives of the marketers at the meeting included Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association (DAPPMA), Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN) and Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN).
The APC led Federal Government has consistently denied it was still paying subsidy for petroleum products in the country.
The present government had campaigned with the issue of subsidy payments to oil marketers, saying it was a way to loot the country dry by the PDP government.
Since the inception of the present administration however, the NNPC which is the sole importer of petroleum products in the country has been forced to pay the difference between the real oil price and landing costs to marketers of oil in the country.
In their latest ultimatum, the oil marketers demanded the payment of outstanding subsidy debts which include foreign exchange differentials and interest rate component, owed to them.
According to them, the move became necessary because they were in a serious crisis as banks had started taking over their assets due to outstanding debts and they were having difficulties paying workers.