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Govt pays marketers N48.2b subsidy arrears


. New petrol price regime to provide 400,000 jobs

The Federal Government had fully paid the N48.2 billion outstanding petroleum subsidy arrears owed oil marketers in 2015.

The ministry’s Director of Information, Salisu Dambatta, made this known in a statement yesterday in Abuja, that the payment was made recently to enable the oil marketers to import petroleum products and meet up their other financial needs.

Besides, the Federal Government said that the removal of fuel subsidy would provide 400,000 jobs in the country.

“The gross total outstanding subsidy claims accruable to the oil marketers for 2015 stood at N48.2 billion, while deductable tax liabilities payable to the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) stood at N5.2 billion only. “

It also said that the minister directed the Debt Management Office (DMO) to pay the claims less tax liability of N5.2 billion, which was computed by the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS).

The statement added that oil marketers without tax liabilities were paid in full, while oil marketers with net subsidy claims and FIRS liabilities were paid net claim after deduction of tax liabilities.

“Oil marketers that were indebted to FIRS and the seven oil marketers that are indebted to the Asset Management Company (AMCON) were not paid until they settled their debts with the two agencies.

Speaking in a video message on his facebook page yesterday, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, said government was at a time in 2015 owed marketers about N600 billion subsidy arrears.

He said that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) was unable to bring in product into the country, which he noted, resulted to systemic queues all over the country and it has to go on for a very long time.

Kachikwu who said that there is no better time increase the price of fuel, urged Nigerians to trust that government is trying to do what is right for its citizens.

He stated: “When we came into power last year, government owed marketers about N600, which made virtually all of them to stop importing products. This money was being owed historically before we assumed our new appointment. We worked hard and got that paid around November and soon after, there was no enough forex to which gave room for only few peoples to bring in insignificant amount of the product.

“This made NNPC to become a sole importer of the product. We struggled with importation; we struggled with the logistics that were involved. First, we have to address the subsidy problem so that we do not have it again.

We did not have to pay subsidy from January to March because we had enough prices over recovery that we did not have to worry about how to pay the marketers. But, by April, the situation got worse, because there was not enough forex facility for marketers to bring in product. Again, NNPC has to come.

We got to a point where there was no other alternative to ameliorate the scarcity, but to increase the price of the product. If we had continued with subsidy, states that already owe may no longer able to pay salaries”.

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