19th May, 2015
Nigeria’s president-elect, Muhammadu Buhari may have been holding discrete talks with petrol importers on how to resolve the lingering scarcity confronting the nation.
News of the meeting was broken today by Tokunbo Korodo, the south west chairman of the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG).
He said he had the information that the Depot and Petroleum Products Marketing Association (DAPPMA) is meeting with the President-elect on the subsidy issue.
“I think the outcome of that meeting may determine if DAPPMA will reopen the depots for loading or import more into the country.”
Korodo said the prevailing fuel scarcity may worsen if depot owners shut their depots to tanker drivers. According to him that no tanker driver had loaded petroleum products as at 1.30 p.m on Monday.
“What I was told was that the independent depot owners may have shut their depots to tanker drivers because of the over N200 billion owed them by the Federal Government”.
He said that the relocation of tankers from highways and the inability to load fuel at the depots were responsible for the free-flow of traffic in Apapa axis.
Korodo added that the recent directive by the Lagos State Government for tanker drivers to relocate from the highways within 48 hours had not yielded any result.
According to him, tanker drivers have vacated the highways but other heavy duty vehicles, especially container drivers have taken over.
“The government cannot chase tanker drivers away for other heavy duty vehicles to occupy the space.
“Lagosians should know that tankers have not been the problem of gridlock in Lagos.
“We occupied the road because we were told to pick fuel only at Apapa,” he said.
He urged the government to settle importers for calm to return to the sector.
NAN reports that the petroleum products’ marketers said on May 14 they would no longer import products except the Federal Government settle their subsidy claims.
The marketers said that the last meeting they had with the Minister of Finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala in Abuja ended in a deadlock.
The government had put the subsidy debt at N131 billion while the marketers insisted on N200 billion.