Marketers of petroleum products in the country are not sure of resuming their normal business activities in full scale any time soon following the delay by the National Assembly to okay the payment of the N413bn approved by the Federal Government as payment for subsidy arrears on petrol.
The marketers have continued to hold on to various means that will compel the government to treat their case with urgency, thereby further aggravating the current petrol scarcity plaguing the whole nation.
Findings by our correspondent from market sources on Monday revealed that the marketers were apprehensive that the legislators could probe their demand for payment and possibly slash the N413bn approved for them.
Most of the marketers at the various levels of the supply value chain, it was observed, were indulging in unwholesome practices like product hoarding, inflated pricing and non-transparent operations, among others.
But the Executive Secretary, Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria, Mr. Thomas Olawore, told our correspondent in a telephone interview that the marketers were optimistic that the legislators would approve their payment.
When asked what the marketers’ reaction will be if the payment approval becomes partial or is not honoured, he said, “There is no room for pessimism here. We believe the payment will be made.”
Despite this stance, petrol trucks were seen hanging around the Apapa-Lagos axis as a result of the skeletal loading activities that had characterised operations at the depots.
Some of the truck drivers complained on Monday that they had spent five days at Apapa without getting products.
Filling station operators are also not helping matters as most of them have resorted to hoarding petrol and selling far above the N87 official pump price. In some areas, the stations only dispense the product at night for inflated amounts so as to beat the regulatory authorities.
A member of the Independent Petroleum Marketers’ Association of Nigeria told our correspondent in confidence that mere word of mouth would not be sufficient to make the marketers return to full scale business.