The Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association (DAPPMA) on Wednesday appealed to the Federal Government to settle subsidy arrears of over N660bn allegedly owed marketers.
DAPPMA Executive Secretary, Olufemi Adewole, said that the arrears had impeded importation of petroleum products.
According to Olufemi, the drop in the importation of products by marketers is responsible for the long queues and idle trucks in the Apapa depot.
He said, “The main debt is over N500bn, while interest on the loans from various banks has risen to over N160bn in the last two years.
“The inability to pay or service the loans has not only impeded importation of fuel, but it is threatening the relationship between the affected banks and the marketers.
“The high foreign exchange rate is another big challenge; accessing Forex to import products has become herculean task.
“Besides, landing cost for petrol has risen to over N145 per litre from N133.28 kobo and marketers are worried as to what price to sell the product.”
Adewole appealed to the government to provide adequate foreign exchange and pay all outstanding debts to marketers to prevent distortion in the supply chain.
He said the huge debt owed marketers had taken toll on operators, adding that further delay in the payment of the debt as allegedly agreed by both parties might affect the sector.
He said, “Our banks are threatening to debit our accounts at the current rate of N360 to a dollar as against N197 to dollar that the government allocated foreign exchange to marketers.
“This means that we are the ones subsidising the imports.
“If government failed to address the lingering challenges on price differential, it’s not only marketers that will go down, the banks will also collapse because our exposure with the banks is in excess of 1.95 billion dollars.”