Subsidy debt: Depot owners suspend strike, give 5-day grace

The Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association (DAPPMA) has suspended its planned shutdown of depots across the country from loading petroleum products effective from 12-midnight on Sunday, Dec. 9.
The suspension directive was conveyed in a statement issued by DAPPMA Executive Secretary, Mr Olufemi Adewole, at about 1:20 a.m. on Monday in Lagos and made available to newsmen.
Adewole said: “Recalls the association had issued a shut down directive to our members following the continuing indebtedness of the Federal Government to the petroleum marketers.
“However, following the intervention of well meaning Nigerians including the National Assembly as represented by the Senate Committee of Petroleum Downstream and constructive engagement of the Federal Government team by the labour unions most affected by the disengagement of our personnel, namely, PENGASSAN, NUPENG NARTO, PTD,and DAPPMA.
“The union has resolved to recall its disengaged personnel for five days to give the Federal Government’s team the opportunity to conclude its process of paying marketers the full outstanding of N800 billion with the first tranche being the amount already approved by the Federal Executive Council (FEC).
“The association has acted in good faith to avoid unnecessary hardship which could befall Nigerians during the Yuletide season and we hope that government would make good its promise to see that those issues are resolved by Friday, Dec., 14, 2018 as promised.
“To this end, our disengaged personnel would be recalled on Monday, Dec. 10, and considering the reactivation time or hitherto shut down system, all depots with fuel stock should be fully active same day,’’ he said.
Adewole said that the conclusion of the debts payment would curtail the continuing wastage of public funds as interest accruing on the over N800 billion debt.
“DAPPMA depots are, therefore, advised to commence loading operations immediately and await further notification in respect of our long overdue payment,” he said.
DAPPAMA had on Sunday, at about 8:30 p.m. directed its members to shutdown all loading operations by midnight, adding that oil marketers had disengaged employees due to their inability to pay salaries.
It said that the Association took a bold step to stop the financial hemorrhaging of its members by the painful disengagement of its loyal workers after over three years of engaging with the government in the efforts to secure the payment of all subsidy induced debt owed marketers.
According to DAPPMA, to avoid owing staff without any hope of pay, it is hereby agreed that since all our staff have been disengaged, all DAPPMAN member depots are not in a position to operate hence will shut down all loading at midnight DAPPMA said that the decision of government claiming to settle N236 billion out of the outstanding N800 subsidy arrears was not acceptable to its members, leading to Thursday, Dec. 6, meeting which ended in a deadlock.
The association explained that the decision of government to pay the N236 billion through promissory notes was equally rejected by the oil marketers.
‘‘As the name suggest, promissory note is a payment instrument that is post dated. Based on this, when you approach the banks with the instrument, you don’t get the actual value on it.
“About 30 per cent is knocked off because government will be making the payment at a later date which ties down the bank’s capital,’’’ the association said.

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