N800bn Subsidy Debts: Pay Marketers Within 2 Weeks, Senate Tells FG

The Federal Government, yesterday, said it has reached an agreement with petroleum marketers on the settlement of outstanding fuel subsidy claims of over N800 billion. The development came as the Senate yesterday asked the Federal Government to pay outstanding fuel subsidy arrears to oil marketers within the next two weeks. 

Special Assistant on Media and Communications to the Minister of Finance, Mr. Paul Abechi, who disclosed news of the agreement in a statement yesterday, also stated that the petroleum marketers assured the public of availability of petroleum products, while operations at all depots and sales would continue until further notice. 

He disclosed that the Federal Government had noted the concerns of the petroleum marketers, adding that government is currently undertaking a review of the initial mode of settlement agreed upon by both parties. Abechi further stated that the marketers expressed satisfaction with the new arrangement being made by the Federal Government to settle their claims, He quoted the petroleum marketers as saying: “The Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association, DAPPMA, Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria, MOMAN, and Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, IPMAN, with the Federal Government delegation meeting held at the Federal Ministry Finance in Abuja on Thursday, December 6, 2018, agreed that operations at all depots and sales will continue until further notice. “After the meeting with senior government officials from the Federal Ministry of Finance, the Debt Management Office, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, the Central Bank of Nigeria, the Budget Office of the Federation, the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation and the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency, we are satisfied with the arrangements being made by the government to settle the claims of petroleum marketers. “The discussions showed that the government has considered the concerns and is reviewing the initial process approved for the settlement. 

We consider that this shows government’s responsiveness to the need for the claims to be settled in a timely manner. “We, hereby, wish to reassure members of the public on the availability of PMS. We urge the public not to panic, as there will be no fuel scarcity. The engagement of the two sides will continue on Monday, December 10, 2018.” 

 Meanwhile, the Senate has asked the Federal government to pay outstanding fuel subsidy arrears to oil marketers within the next two weeks. The resolution is the latest move to avert a looming strike by the marketers who issued a seven-day ultimatum on Sunday. In a motion yesterday, chairman, Senate Committee on Downstream, Kabiru Marafa, said there is an urgent need to avert looming crisis in fuel supply due to non-payment of accrued subsidy arrears to oil marketers.