By Ejiofor Alike
The current tight supply of petrol, especially in Lagos, is set to ease soon as marketers have intensified efforts to resume the importation of the product, which they had suspended following the delay in the payment of their subsidy claims.
The change of mind, THISDAY gathered Tuesday, is informed by the continued payment of outstanding subsidy claims to some oil marketing and trading companies (OM &T) by the Federal Government.
This is coming as the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) Tuesday brought in one additional vessel, CAPTAIN GREGORY, carrying about 20,000 metric tonnes of petrol, to ease the scarcity occasioned by major marketers’ refusal to import petrol.
THISDAY gathered that the importation of the cargo, which berthed at the Bulk Oil Jetty at Apapa, was part of the efforts by the NNPC to bridge the supply gap created by the initial refusal of private marketers to bring in petroleum products due to unpaid subsidy claims.
The Federal Government on Monday said it had paid a total of N259, 339, 041, 657.85 as subsidy claims for 2012 and the arrears of 2011 claims.
A breakdown of the payments to the marketers, according to the ministry, showed that 24 companies submitted and were paid 43 different subsidy claims for 2012; totalling N78,899,342,509.65.
Of the total amount of N78.9 billion paid so far under this category, the ministry said N34.6 billion was paid on August 22 following a thorough process of claims verification.
The list also showed that 79 companies, including the 25 firms recommended for further criminal investigation by the Aig-Imoukhuede Committee, were paid arrears of 2011 claims in 2012, bringing the total payment to N259, 339, 041, 657.85.
THISDAY Tuesday gathered that based on the Federal Government’s gesture, some of the marketers have concluded arrangements to resume importation of products.
Major marketers had suspended the importation of petrol, saddling the NNPC alone with the responsibility, citing the delay by the Federal Government to pay their subsidy claims.
However, a chief executive officer of one of the companies, who craved anonymity, told THISDAY that his company had concluded all necessary arrangements to bring in three cargoes of petrol.
“We have made all the arrangements to import three cargoes. They will start coming in by the middle of this month. There are also moves by some other companies to bring in products,” he said.
He said the plan to resume fuel imports followed the payment of some of the subsidy claims by the Federal Government.
Investigation also revealed that 60 per cent of the 30 million litres of petrol in the vessel brought in by the NNPC would be allocated to the six major oil-marketing companies – Forte Oil; Conoil Plc; Total Nigeria Plc; Oando Plc; MRS Oil and Gas; and Mobil Oil Nigeria Plc.
The remaining 40 per cent, it was learnt, would be allocated to NIPCO Plc.