Palpable fear has gripped the numerous owners of multi-billion Naira tank farm business as the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) closes-in on hose that are accountable for part of the almost N750Billion said t be owed the five bans whose chief executives executive directors were recently sacked.
Although there was no official confirmation that any of the chief executives of the petroleum products depots has been arrested, insider sources told our correspondent that some of those who have been defaulting in the loans repayment have been shuttling between their banks and the tank farms.
The fear and the need to repay the loans have also heightened fear of imminent fuel scarcity as some of them have temporarily stooped fresh orders due to paucity of funds as the bans have raised the bar in the granting of fresh facilities for importation of petroleum products.
Industry sources also told our correspondent that some of the tank farms are already running low on stock.
A senior manger in one of the depots told Shipping Position Weekly that “getting financial support from the banks now have been difficult given the recent incidents happening in the banks, but government must also know that the oil and gas industry is very crucial to the Nigerian economy and so, they should find a way of sustaining us in the business, the indigenous and local operators need to be encouraged” he said.
The plight of the tank farm owners was also confirmed via a statement issued last week by the Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association (DAPPMA) which expressed dismay at the way the CBN is going about the debt recovery drive.
According to DAPPMA, rather than hunt tank farm owners over their transactions with the commercial banks, government should encourage them for venturing into a very risky and financially demanding down stream sector.
The association also noted that the banks with which its members have dealings understand the nature of petroleum products importation and that some of the outstanding loans were already been liquidated even before he CBN published the contentious list of alleged debtors.