Nigeria’s Minister of Finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has dismissed insinuations that the recent fuel scarcity witnessed in most parts of the country was caused by non-payment of oil marketers.
According to the News Agency of Nigeria, Okonjo-Iweala, while briefing journalists yesterday in Abuja said, “I want to emphasise that contrary to some unfounded speculations, the queues are not caused by payment issues. As you know, we paid the marketers a total of N320.8 billion from the Excess Crude Account in two installment in December last year.
“This underscores the fact that we are taking payment of marketers very seriously indeed. We’ve been in constant touch and talking with the marketers and a week ago we reached an agreement with them on their core concerns which we have addressed,’’ she said.
She expressed the government’s concerns over the fuel queues which had appeared in most parts of the country.
She said that various government departments have worked very hard to reduce them to the barest minimum.
“The situation is due to a mix of factors including disruption of pipelines and logistical issues and they are being attended to urgently,’’ she said.
She disclosed that government had reached an agreement with the marketers union on the N185 billion balances of their payment.
She stated that as part of this agreement, it would pay the costs they incurred, their fees, interests and forex differentials.
“CBN has also given approvals for the banks to issue letters of credit,’’ she added.
Meanwhile, the Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN) disclosed recently that the scarcity of fuel currently being experienced in major cities across the country will persist except federal government acts fast to pay outstanding subsidy claims.