By Yunus Yusuf
The Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN) has appealed to the Federal Government to pay the outstanding fuel subsidy claims to its members to pay back their bank loans.
The Executive Secretary of the association, Mr Obafemi Olawore, made the plea in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday in Lagos.
NAN reports that some oil marketers had on June 18 appealed to the Federal Government to pay their outstanding debts of two billion dollars (N720 billion) owed on importation of petrol products and the accrued interests on bank loans.
Olawore said that the immediate payment of the accumulated subsidy claims would salvage the banks from total collapse over the huge debts owed them by marketers.
According to him, the delay in repayment of the loan debts owed the banks by marketers had led to retrenchment in the banking and the oil and gas sectors.
“We (marketers) are afraid that if the money is not paid on time, this may attract the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) to take over our businesses.
“The debts had imparted grossly on marketers, while only very few marketers are presently importing insignificant quantity of petroleum products into the country,’’ he said.
Olawore said that the plea was to avert the scarcity of petroleum products in the country.
The executive secretary said that inability of the marketers to import fuel had impacted negatively on loading activities at the Apapa and Dockyard private depots.
Olawore said that the NNPC had become the sole importer of petroleum products, while marketers were queuing to get the products on credit.
He said that the Federal Government paid over N300 million daily as fuel subsidy.
Olawore said that anytime there was problem in the banking sector, it was always traced to the oil sector, because of the unpaid loans collected by marketers borrowed.
“Once we (marketers) are unable to pay, the banks will have problems,’’ he said.
Olawore said that some banks might be having problem with their correspondence banks abroad due to the unpaid loans.
“This can have negative effects on the financial sector’s stability, which is not good for the economy.
“A situation where the banks are being owed N800 billion constitute major threat to the continuous existence of the sector,’’ he said.