Fuel Scarcity: Government Accuses Marketers Of Hidden Agenda
• We Still Have N200b outstanding, Marketers Insist
THE last may not have been heard of the recent controversies trailing the payment of fuel subsidy that eventually led to scarcity of petrol in the country, as the Federal Government said Thursday that marketers might be pursuing another agenda at the expense of Nigerians.
The Federal Government had recently announced payment of about N154 billion as part of the subsidy claims, but it seems marketers are still shying away from importing products due to uncertainties surrounding the payment of their N200 billion balance.
The Special Adviser on Communication to the Minister of Finance, Paul Nwabuiko, in his response to The Guardian’s enquiry, insisted that a large part of that amount was about N159billion, which is made up of forex differentials claimed by the marketers. He said the Federal Government has set up a committee comprising the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Petroleum Product Pricing and Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) and Debt Management Office (DMO) to verify the claims.
“The statement by the marketers is the latest in a series of actions, which reveal their bad faith and indifference to the suffering of Nigerians.
Their claim that no one in government is speaking to them is inaccurate. It was just a few days ago that they told the world, after a meeting with the Finance Minister, the PPPRA and the DMO, that they would work hard to increase supply to end the scarcity and the long queues across the country.
“This was after they received the latest payment of N154 billion for verified supplies and forex differentials (due to exchange rate differences between the period of supply and payment).
Between December 2014 and now the marketers have received over N500 billion (half a trillion naira), which is no mean sum given that the country’s total budget is under N5trillion.
“Regarding the N200 billion they say is the balance of their payment, but the facts are clear. A large part of that amount – about N159billion is made up of forex differentials claimed by the marketers. As the minister has said, there is need to verify this huge claim.
A committee comprised of the CBN, PPPRA and DMO has been set up to do this. “Given how much the marketers have been paid at such a challenging time and the additional fact that other payments are being discussed, the refusal of the marketers to supply fuel suggests that they are pursuing another agenda,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Executive Secretary, Major Oil Marketers of Nigeria, (MOMAN), Obafemi Olawore, had told The Guardian that the Federal Government was owing them N200 billion subsidy claims.
“We collected about N154 billion, N98 billion was post-dated for the main subsidy and N56 billion for the interest, making a total of N154 billion.
“So, I can confirm that it is only N154 billion that has been paid out of a total ofN354 billion. We still have N200 billion outstanding,” he said.