Petroleum marketers in the country will soon heave a sigh of relief as indications emerged yesterday that President Muhammadu Buhari has asked the National Assembly to approve the payment of their N413 billion claims.
The payment of the outstanding subsidy claims is believed to be the key to ending the biting fuel scarcity across the country.
According to a Presidency source, “only about N140 billion was appropriated for subsidy payment in the current budget and it has been exhausted”.
“Out of respect for the parliament, the President insisted that the right thing must be done by seeking approval from the National Assembly before an additional kobo is paid in excess of what the budget makes provision for”.
“This is a clear departure from the past, when extra-budgetary expenditure was the norm”, the source added.
Another source told The Nation that “the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) expressed the belief that with the outstanding payment due to oil marketers now assured, the marketers and other downstream players will join hands with the corporation to guarantee that the nation remains wet with petroleum products all year round”.
When contacted, the Senior Special Assistant (SSA), Media, to the President, Mallam Garba Shehu, noted that President Buhari “is desirous to end the petrol scarcity. But he insists that due process must be followed”.