We Are Yet To Meet Buhari –Depot Owners | Independent Newspapers Limited
Newsletter subscribe


We Are Yet To Meet Buhari –Depot Owners

Posted: May 20, 2015 at 6:47 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

•As NARTO, PTD Resume Strike Over Unpaid Arrears

By Phillip Oladunjoye,  Lagos


Contrary to media report of a discrete meeting between the incoming president, Muhammadu Buhari and petroleum importers over the lingering fuel scarcity in the country, the Depot and Petroleum Products Marketing Association (DAPPMA) has said that there has not been any meeting between its members and Buhari.

The executive secretary of the association, Mr. Olufemi Adewole, told Daily Independent in a telephone chat that though the marketers had initiated a meeting with the incoming president, Buhari has not given them a date for a meeting.

He explained that the petroleum depot owners and importers are seeking the audience of Buhari to get his commitment to the payment of subsidy, saying they would want to find out from him if he would be ready to pay the outstanding debt of over N200 billion as well as get his commitment on whether they should go ahead and be importing fuel.

“There has not been any meeting between us and Buhari. Although we have written to him that we want to meet him but he has not given us a date. We want to meet him to ask if he will pay us the outstanding money on subsidy, which is over N200 billion, and we want to ask if we should also go ahead and begin to import. We want to get that commitment from him before we can do anything,” he said.

He said there was nothing like a secret meeting, saying if such a meeting would hold the media would be invited to cover it, but added that they are still waiting for Buhari to acknowledge the letter sent to him and choose a date for the meeting.

“There is no meeting yet. We are waiting for a date for a meeting from him. Moreover, if there is going to be a meeting, you (the media) will be invited to cover the meeting. There is nothing like a secret meeting between us,” he added.

Executive Secretary of Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN), Mr. Femi Olawore, said he was not aware of such meeting.

When our reporter called him to get his view on the matter, and on the worsening situation of supply of petrol in the country, he said he was in Abuja and would not be able to talk on the issues until he returns to Lagos where he would be adequately briefed.

Meanwhile, the National Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO) and Petrol Tanker Drivers (PTD) have resumed their suspended strike over the money owed them by members of DAPPMA and Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN).

An industry source told Daily Independent that there has not been any loading at any of the depots since Monday (May 18) due to the strike action by the tanker drivers.

Olawore had earlier told journalists that members of NARTO and PTD were being owed about N20 billion from the initial subsidy fee of N356 billion.

He said the drivers suspended their initial strike based on the majurity of the N156 billion paid to the importers at the end of April, from which the marketers had promised to offset part of the bill.

He noted then that the tanker drivers had given them the benefit of the doubt until after their scheduled meeting with the minister of finance, Ngozi Okonjo Iweala, where they were supposed to agree on how the balance of the outstanding N200 billion will be paid.

He said at a different meeting with the media after the meeting with the minister that there was no positive response from the federal government as the minister had inaugurated a committee to look at the composition of the bill making up the subsidy fee.

An industry observer said it would not be unfounded if the tanker drivers embark on strike since there was no sign that there money would be paid and that they would not want the fee to be accumulating.

In the same vein, Nigerian oil workers have said they will go on strike if government does not meet with them by the end of the week, a spokesman for Nigeria’s main oil workers’ union told Reuters on Tuesday.

The NPDC workers, who are represented by PENGASSAN and NUPENG, are against the transfer of the operatorship of OML 42 from Shell to Neconde Energy Ltd. It was divested in 2013.

Emmanuel Ojugbana, the spokesman for PENGASSAN, said the will shut down activities in the sector but  “shut down has not been done yet.” He insisted  that they would take action if the government does not meet with them by the end of Tuesday (yesterday).