BY Emma Ujah, Abuja Bureau Chief
ABUJA—the Federal Ministry of Finance has paid petroleum products marketers N192,502,279,966.50, this year.
A statement by Mr. Paul Nwabuikwu, Special Adviser to the Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, yesterday, in Abuja, said that 19 marketers were paid N56,806,010,752.45 this month.
He added that earlier in the year, N135,696,269,214.05 was paid to oil marketers in respect of verified 2011 and 2012 arrears.
According to Mr. Nwabuikwu, the ministry would continue to make “fuel subsidy payments in a transparent and efficient manner that protects and enhances the interests of the Nigerian people.”
He said: “The Ministry of Finance makes payments based on batches of claims as submitted by the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency, PPPRA.”
Marketers that were paid in the latest batch included AITEO Energy Resources Ltd, ASCON Oil Company Ltd, A-Z Petroleum, Bovas & Company, Folawiyo Energy and Forte Oil Plc.
Others were Gulf Treasures Ltd, Integrated Oil & Gas Ltd, Masters Energy, Mobil, NIPCO, NorthWest Petroleum, Rahamaniya Oil, Rain Oil, Sahara Energy, Shorelink Energy, Swift Oil, Techno Oil and Total.
There were recent fears of fuel scarcity in the country over what some players described as delays in the payment of marketers’ claims.
Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, had to re-assure the public that there was no reason for anxiety over fuel supply, saying that there was adequate stock of products and that the supply framework was working smoothly, as fuel importers were being paid regularly.
Unscrupulous operators in the industry were seen as those behind rumours of fuel scarcity in what stakeholders concluded were attempts to stampede the Ministry of Finance into settling unverified claims.
Dr. Okonjo-Iweala has, however, insisted that she would not be pushed into paying marketers without verification of their claims by the PPPRA.