The federal government has restated its commitment to continue to pay all verified subsidy claims to oil marketing and trading (OM &T) companies and other independent importers of petroleum products This Day reports.
The Co-coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, also stated that the government was awaiting the report of the committee set up by her ministry and the oil marketers to verify the additional claims arising from accumulated interest on delayed payment and foreign exchange rate differentials.
About 46 oil marketers in the country were grappling under the yoke of heavy debts following the failure of the Federal Ministry of Finance to pay them the outstanding verified subsidy claims and importation cost amounting to almost N180 billion as at October 10 this year.
About N19 billion is outstanding for 2013 discharges while about N161 billion is outstanding for 2014 discharges.
The delay in the payment of the claims had prompted the marketers to appeal to the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, to “talk to Okonjo-Iweala” to pay their outstanding claims to avert an end-of-the-year fuel crisis.
Okonjo-Iweala however stated that though the government is indebted to the marketers, the marketers are also being paid varying amount, which have been published.
She also admitted receiving a letter from the petroleum minister, requesting her to pay the marketers their outstanding claims, adding that she has responded appropriately to the letter.
On the issue of the accumulated interest and foreign exchange rates differential arising from the delay in payment of subsidy claims, the minister stated that her ministry and the oil marketers had met in Lagos and agreed to review the claims due to the marketers.
She confirmed that at the meeting, which she personally attended, a committee was set up between her ministry and the marketers to carry out the review.