Lagos - Major oil marketers and depot petroleum products marketers on Thursday said that the current fuel scarcity in the country might persist beyond May 29, if the Federal Government failed to pay their outstanding claims on subsidy.
The Executive Secretary of Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN) Mr Obafemi Olawore disclosed this at a media briefing with the newsmen in Lagos.
Olawore said that the outstanding payment on subsidy and interest remained unpaid by government and this had led to its members' inability to import petroleum products in the last few days.
According to him, the scarcity may also persist beyond the hand over date that will usher in a new political administration of Gen Muhammadu Buhari (rtd).
"Because of the huge outstanding that we have; because we have not been able to pay back the loan we have taken, because our suppliers are not too confident, we are unable to bring fresh import.
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"Whatever we have now is what we have received from NNPC and it is the small quantity that we have from NNPC, that is why you see all the trucks in Lagos scrambling for them.
Olawore said unless the over N200 billion that the government owed both MOMAN and DAPPMA was paid, scarcity might persist beyond May 29.
The Executive Secretary of Depot and Petroleum Products Marketing Association (DAPPMA) Mr Olufemi Adewole also said the Federal Government owed its members more than N200 billion.
He said that out of its 40 members, only 24 participate in the subsidy programme, adding that all its members had been paid subsidy while only six out of 24 had been paid their interest.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Finance Minister and Coordinating Minister for the Economy, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, had on May 3, said the Federal Government was not owing the marketers up to N200 billion.
She said that after paying the marketers N154 billion a week earlier, the government was only aware of N131 billion outstanding payment.
Meanwhile, NAN correspondent who monitored fuel situation in major filling stations in Lagos reports that the situation had worsened while black marketers were having a field day selling the product at exorbitant price.
NAN observed that many of the independent and major oil filling stations were also selling petrol above the pump price of N 87 per litre.
Some commercial vehicles have hiked their fares leaving commuters with no option than to painfully pay or trek to their destinations.