Oil marketers in the country are still on strike despite the promises by the Federal Government on Thursday that verified subsidy arrears would soon be paid to them.
The marketers, who spoke to our correspondent on Friday, confirmed that the government had yet to contact them for deliberations.
The FG on Thursday, through the Ministry of Finance, directed the Debt Management Office to pay marketers all subsidy claims that had been verified.
The Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, had said the claims would be paid as soon as the Petroleum Products Pricing and Regulatory Agency provided the supporting Sovereign Debt Notes. But she did not disclose the total amount to be paid to the marketers.
The minister, in a statement by her Senior Special Assistant on Communication, Mr. Paul Nwabuiku, had said there was no need for the marketers to go on strike since the government was already addressing the subsidy payment issue.
Confirming the position of the marketers on Friday, the President, Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association, Chief Dapo Abiodun, said, “Of course we are still on strike. We have not heard from the government yet. There has been no meeting between us and government.”
He said officially, neither the association nor its members had been communicated to in that regard.
He said, “What we hear are just rumours that we’ll be paid.”
Our correspondent learnt from some members of the Jetty and Petroleum Tank Farm Owners of Nigeria that the government had yet to reach them on the development.
Marketers had said on Wednesday that they were awaiting proof from the government that it would actually pay the claims.
When asked if the current strike would be called off following the promise by the government to pay, they had said, “We will wait until we have a proof of that. Nobody has told us that.”
DAPPMA had said it would wait until the government’s intention to pay the verified subsidy arrears was formally communicated to it.
Abiodun, who spoke on behalf of the association, also said if the development was confirmed, the association might do some reconsiderations as regards the current strike embarked upon by its members.
The Chairman, Jetty and Petroleum Tank Farm Owners of Nigeria, Mr. Ifeanyi Uba, had said before the association would call off its strike, the government must meet its conditions.
He said, “We must have a Memorandum of Understanding with the government on how this business will be run. The government should settle the subsidy claims and design the future of this industry.”
In the same vein, the Executive Secretary, Major Marketers Association of Nigeria, Mr. Obafemi Olawore, had told our correspondent that, “Let the government pay; we are waiting.
“We don’t expect them to pay unverified claims; but they should be fast in verifying all the claims.”