The Buhari Media Organisation (BMO) has cautioned a group of oil marketers against indulging in scare mongering and blackmail over a debt burden inherited from the previous administration.
The oil marketers had issued a seven-day ultimatum to shut down operations at all depots over an N800b oil subsidy debt.
BMO said in a statement signed by its Chairman Niyi Akinsiju and Secretary Cassidy Madueke that there is no basis for Independent Petroleum Products Importers (IPPIs) to resort to such tactics over a debt matter that this administration was not responsible for.
“For the avoidance of doubt, the issue raised by the IPPIs is an inherited one but the Buhari administration is not shying away from paying the debt in line with the approval of the Federal Executive Council (FEC).
“In fact the Buhari administration has paid 330 billion naira of this debt as approved by the National Assembly and has issued Promissory Notes for the settlement of the rest of the debt.
“The Debt Management Office (DMO) has since activated the process of payment after the requisite clearance was secured from the National Assembly but it has to follow due process.”
BMO also wondered why the marketers are raising dust over the government’s intention to settle the outstanding arrears through promissory notes.
This it says is because DMO had, since October, given a clear indication of its intention to accelerate the settlement in line with the process approved by FEC when its management met with the Senate Committee on Petroleum (downstream).
“It was clear from the outset that the debt would not be paid by cash and that was why the DMO came into the picture.
“There was no time the government agreed for cash payment so there is no need making such demand so close to the yuletide period.
The group also urged IPPI to tow the line of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) and other groups of marketers which do not see the need to issue threats.
“We acknowledge the decision of other oil marketers under the aegis of IPMAN to dissociate itself from the 7-day deadline even when their money is part of the N800b subsidy debt.
“By opting not to shut their facilities, IPMAN members have proved to be patriots who are prepared to allow the payment process run its full course.
“It would be ideal for IPPI to take a cue from the more industrious group of marketers and allow Nigerians enjoy the new lease of life in the downstream sector”, the group added.