Payment of N236bn subsidy‘ll improve economy, boost banks operation- Oil marketers

Owing to the Federal Government pronouncement to pay oil marketers N236 billion out of N348 billion approved by the National Assembly as outstanding subsidy claims on Friday, December 14, Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN) has said when the money is paid, it will help boost banking operations and improve the nation’s economy. This is even as the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) and Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) have come out to assure Nigerians and the Federal Government that all nerves should be calm as the unions are not perturbed over threats by depot owners, who intend to shut down services over issues on payment of outstanding subsidy claims. In an exclusive telephone chat with The Daily Times, the Executive Secretary of MOMAN, Mr. Clement Isong, said that major oil marketers believed that the Federal Government will not fail this time. According to him, the payment of the debt by the government will help members of the association pay the banks what they borrowed from the banks to do business, which will enable the lenders bounce back to business while stimulating the nation’s economy. “These debts have not been paid since 2016, but when it is paid as promised, it will help improve the economy of the country. And I can assure that the statement does not represent political gimmicks as been insinuated by some quarters”, he affirmed. The MOMAN boss, however, expressed confidence that the Federal Government will not fail on its promise even as he explained that the Federal Government may not pay all but has to sit with the association to ensure proper payment process over time. The Chief Operating Officer, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) Downstream, Henry Ikem-Obih, had disclosed that the Debt Management Office (DMO) will on December 14, pay oil marketers first part of the subsidy arrears of N236 billion as agreed by both parties. “We agreed that after the first tranche is paid, the marketers will form a committee to work on details of how the next tranche will be paid in 2019 and the last paid in 2020. “Government is fully committed to paying the first tranche as promised and will be paid through a promissory note that will be issued by the DMO,’’ he said. Mr. Ikem-Obih said that oil marketers equally owed the government some debt which would not be deducted from the first tranche of payment. Meanwhile, NUPENG and PENGASSAN in a statement signed by their presidents, Messrs Francis Johnson and Williams Akporeha, in Abuja, had informed the general public that they have resolved to hold government accountable to the December 14 deadline it promised to pay the first part of the debts owed. “With this commitment and firm assurance from the government representatives, the leadership of NUPENG and PENGASSAN have resolved to hold down on taking any action on the issues to allow government fulfills its pledge. “After series of engagements with government representatives and marketers, coupled with the ongoing meetings, consultations, and negotiations between the government and oil marketers, we have been assured by the government that the first part of the debt payment will be made not later than 14th December”. The unions’ leaders assured their members and the public that the decisions were based on upholding the overall interest of the nation, the industry as well as job security of its members. “Our members should, therefore, remain calm and continue to provide their services as required always”. They, however, urged the public to refrain from panic buying or stockpiling of petroleum products. Motolani Oseni, Joy Obakeye, Lagos and Idu Jude, Abuja

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