Staff of major Oil marketers may be in for a hard time if the Oil dealers made good their threats to downsize in an imminent face-off with the government over accumulated debts.
The Oil marketers said they will embark on mass retrenchment following the failure of the Federal Government to pay the debt owed them for importation of petroleum products as well as the accrued interest on loans from banks and exchange rate differential.
The marketers under the aegis of Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria, Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association, and Independent Petroleum Products Importers said the debts had risen to over $2 billion.
According to a joint communiqué issued after their meeting in Lagos on Tuesday and signed by their legal adviser, Patrick Etim, many marketers and oil companies owe workers over eight months’ salaries due to the inability of government to pay off their debts on products imported since 2015.
They urged the government to authorise the payment of outstanding interest and foreign exchange differentials owed them to save their business from total collapse. The marketers said they owed some Nigerian banks over $2 billion, which they took as loans to import fuel, adding that the interest had accumulated over time because the government had yet to pay them or pay the banks interest on the loans as agreed.
The communiqué said, “The hope that the outstanding debts owed marketers will be paid, resulting from the intervention of the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, appears to have been dashed as the payment that was promised to happen in July 2017 is yet to materialise.