By Henry Umoru
ABUJA- THE Senate Wednesday approved the payment of N348 billion as outstanding subsidy claims to Oando, Total, Honey Well, Capital Oil, Conoil, A.A. Rano, Folawiyo, Eternal and other petroleum marketers.
The total number if marketers the Senate gave nod to were 74 petroleum marketers, just as this is to enable them update all outstanding liabilities and clear all debts, interest accrued and forex differential once and for all.
The Senate noted that continuous delay of the approval of the promissory note request will affect the liquidity of the Oil Marketing Companies and undermine their crucial role in the development of the economy.
According to the Senate, of the said amount, 55 oil marketers are to receive N275,750,415,108 while 19 others will get N73,452,639,866.
Resolutions of the Senate were sequel to the adoption of the interim report of the Committee on Petroleum Downstream on the Promissory Note Programme and a Bond Issuance to Settle Inherited Local Debts and Contractual Obligations to Petroleum Marketers.
The Committee in the report presented by its Chairman, Senator Kabiru Marafa, APC, Zamfara Central however recommended that the 55 oil marketers be paid 100 percent of their claims.
The Committee also called for the payment of 65 percent claims to marketers due to contentions in their figures.
The Senate asked the committee to continue its engagement with the Ministry of Finance, oil marketing companies, Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) and other stakeholders.
According to Marafa, the marketers made claims to the tune of N670,497,543,15, as of June 30, 2017, but the PPPRA verified and approved the sum of N429,054,203,228 to the Federal Ministry of Finance, adding that while the verified figure was approved by the Federal Executive Council, further verification by the Presidential Initiative on Continuous Audit (PICA) reduced the amount to N407,255,263,288.
The report read, “This issue including The determination of the terminal date of the subsidy programme amount paid to the OMCs and the interest accrued from 30th June, 2017 to date will be taken up and resolved in the final report. This committee will be submitting to the Senate in due course. This submission should be able to reconcile and bring to the conclusion all issues in respect of petroleum subsidy programme implementation and payments;
“Further verification needs to be made to ascerTain the discrepancies between the OMCs and the recommendations for payment made by FMoF (PICA);
“In this respect, Thye Committee is of the opinion that interim payments should be effected to the OMCs pending full verification of PICA recommendaTions and updating on the full implication of interest accruals from 30th June 2017 to date.
“The Government’s inability to pay the OMCs as at 30th June, 2017 has further increased its liability since the interest continued running till date, hence, the need for further work by the Committee to compile and update the level of indebtedness and its interest accruals;
“However, in view of the fact that the service of the OMCs is very important to the economic development of the country and closely tied to National security, paying the marketers would stem the threat of fuel scarcity, increase economic activities and promote a more harmonious working relationship between the Government and OMCs”.
Some of the oil marketers and the amount approved for them include:Aiteo N4,988,199,360; Conoil N5,588,285,132; Forte Oil N15,480,445,907; Bovas N5,953,684,258; Capital Oil N8,339,052,402; Mobil N8,282,363,478; MRS Oil and Gas N20,948,270,002; Oando N14,972,585,600; Total N21,569,996,843, among others.