Fuel Scarcity: Nigerian govt. to pay $30bn exchange rate differentials to marketers

Fuel Scarcity: Nigerian govt. to pay $30bn exchange rate differentials to marketers

The Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, said on Wednesday that the Federal Government had agreed to pay 30 billion dollars foreign exchange differentials owed to oil marketers.

Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala made this known on Wednesday in Abuja while briefing journalists after a meeting with the Central Bank, Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency, major oil markers and depot owners.

“The Federal Government has addressed all contentious issues with the marketers, such as the issue of the foreign exchange rate differentials.

“The Federal Government has agreed to pay the 30 billion dollars exchange rate differentials owed the marketers over the last couple of months.

“It is already in the process of offsetting the N185 billion debts owed the marketers with the issuance of the Sovereign Debt Note (SDN),” she said.

Ms. Okonjo-Iweala added that the Federal Government had been talking with the marketers within the last 10 days.

She added that the President wanted Nigerians to know that government was working on the situation and would resolve the issue in the shortest possible time.

Ms. Okonjo-Iweala urged the marketers to be patriotic in their dealings with the government as the issue affected all and sundry.

She commended Nigerians for their patience, assuring that the crisis would be over in the next couple of days.

“In the next few days, the queues will dissipate, the situation will be addressed and everything will return to normal.

“At the Federal Executive Council meeting today, the issue was discussed in terms of pushing forward and making sure things get back to normal,” she said

The CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, said the apex bank had met with banks and oil marketers to resolve all the contending issues associated with credit facilities.

He said that in the last one week, over 500 million dollars Letters of Credit had been opened by banks on behalf of the marketers.

He called on marketers who were experiencing delays in their Letters of Credit to alert the CBN, promising to step in and ensure the issue was resolved amicably.

The Executive Secretary, Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria, Obafemi Olawore, said the queues would ease off in the next few days.

He said that marketers had moved 495 truckloads of fuel to Lagos, Abuja and environs.

He said massive movement of fuel has been going on in the last three days, while three of its members imported three cargoes of PMS due to agreements with the CBN and the Finance Ministry.

“On Monday, major marketers moved 132 truckloads of fuel to Lagos, while 87 truckloads were moved to Abuja, and this is exclusive to the quantity moved by the NNPC, independent marketers and other marketers.

“On Tuesday, 137 trucks were moved to Lagos, while 139 trucks were moved Abuja. You can see that the amount we moved to Abuja was far more than the quantity we moved on Monday.

“It normally takes between three and four days to transport the fuel from Lagos to Abuja; hence we believe the queues will ease off by weekend, latest,” he said

He assured Nigerians that genuine efforts were being made to ensure that the queues vanished and normalcy returned.

Also, Farouk Ahmed, Executive Secretary, PPPRA, said the agency authorised eight companies to import PMS in March.

He said the NNPC and the Pipelines Products Marketing Company would be importing over one billion litres of the commodity in the same month.

According to him, with the over 500 million litres of fuel in the NNPC depots offshore Lagos and others across the country, Nigeria has total national sufficiency of 33 days.

“What this means is that, if there is no additional importation in Nigeria in the next couple of days, we still have stock for the next 33 days.

“Hence, there is no need for concern and panic buying. We are not only concentrating on Lagos alone, but also in other urban and rural areas,” Mr. Ahmed added.

The Executive Secretary, Depot and Petroleum Products Marketing Association of Nigeria, Olufemi Adewole, said the tightness currently witnessed across the country would soon become a thing of the past.

“Our members are currently meeting with banks to open Letters of Credit; once approved, cargoes of fuel will be imported.”

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