As the fuel scarcity and hike across the country heightens, the Federal Government has called on the oil marketers to consider the interest of Nigerians who are at the receiving end of their action.
FG, Oil marketers at loggerheads over subsidy debt
Finance Minister, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala refuted the claims by the marketers that the government was owing them N200 billion. She said after paying N156billion last week, their balance is N131 billion.
Speaking to journalists in Abuja on Sunday, May 3, the Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala refuted the claims by the marketers that the government was owing them N200 billion, stating that after government paid N156 billion last week, their remaining balance is about N131 billion.
But the Executive Secretary of the Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria, Thomas Olawore, had maintained that the government paid N154.2 billion out N354 billion, affirming they are to be balanced N200.2 billion.
“What happens to the N200.2bn? That is why we requested that the government invites us so that we can be told how it intends to liquidate the remaining N200.2bn,” Olawore said.
The minister however invalidated the figure, noting that what is left to pay the marketers in the oil subsidy debt, based on Petroleum Pricing Products Regulatory Agency’s template is about N131billion.
“As you know, we paid N156bn recently, N100billion of the principle payment that we owe them and then we paid N56bn interest rate and some remaining exchange rate differentials.
“Prior to that, we have just paid N31billion exchange rate differentials. So at the time we paid that last week, what we had outstanding is N98billion.”
Okonjo-Iweala said the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) sends data every week, which is what government only subscribe and certified as what is due to marketers.
“As at now, since we made the announcement last week, it has now risen from N98billion to N131billion outstanding in principle payment.
“And they are now making a demand of N200billion and I asked them what is the balance for,” she added.
The minister said something needs to be done to checkmate the excesses of the marketers, describing them as a cartel.
“It has become a situation where we have a cartel that can ground the nation to a halt at will. I strongly suggest that the nation has to do something about it,” she said.
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