Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN) says the non-payment of their N650 billion subsidy claims made retrenchment necessary.
The association told NAN on Saturday that the federal government’s failure to pay the claims has had a negative effect on operations.
MOMAN consists of Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association (DAPPMA) and Independent Petroleum Products Importers (IPPIs).
Marketers who spoke on conditions of anonymity said a majority of the marketers are indebted to banks because they had to borrow to pay workers’ salaries.
“Retrenchment became necessary as some marketers have already closed their depots, while others have reduced workers’ salaries by 75 percent due to their inability to sustain the payments.
“It is a difficult time for the oil marketers because we are currently facing the headwinds in the oil market
Olufemi Adewole, DAPPMA executive secretary, said the debt is affecting investments in the downstream sector as many marketers have been forced out of business.
In March, marketers had announced that the federal government’s consent to settle the debts.
“We are told that both the legislature and executive are working on the payment which government had for long promised,” Adewole said.
“In 2017, the government told marketers that the money had been approved for payment. Up till now, marketers have not received a dime.”
A source at the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) told NAN that the agency had prepared and sent what was due to marketers to the Debt Management Office (DMO).
“We have long prepared and submitted their outstanding claims to the DMO office. The DMO should be in a better position to give an update.”
Patience Oniha, DMO director general, told NAN that President Muhammadu Buhari had last month requested approval from the national assembly to issue promissory notes to pay all areas to contractors, including oil marketers.
“The president has approached the national assembly to give the approval to issue promissory notes to oil marketers and others owed arrears by the government but it has not been approved.”