By Emma Ujah, Abuja Bureau Chief
ABUJA—THE Debt Management Office, DMO, has summoned a meeting of oil marketers to resolve their outstanding debts which would be paid through promissory notes.
The DMO said in Abuja, yesterday, that the meeting to be held within the week would provide the two parties a platform for a clear understanding of the process of the issuance of the debt instruments to the marketers.
“It is to be noted that the claims by oil marketers are for accrued interest and foreign exchange differentials.
“While some of the issues involved in the implementation of the programme have been explained to representatives of the oil marketers, the DMO has invited the oil marketers to a meeting this week to explain the process to them and provide a Status Report,” the DMO said.
With the yuletide approaching, the marketers had threatened to shut down the flow of fuel across the country, should the Federal Government fail to pay debts owed them.
The Federal Executive Council, FEC, approved the establishment of the Promissory Note Programme and Bond Issuance to settle inherited local debts and contractual obligations due to various categories of creditors, including oil marketers in July 2017.
These were unpaid obligations carried over from previous administrations.
According to the DMO, the amounts presented to FEC and subsequently to the National Assembly were derived by simply collating figures from various MDAs in order to kick-start the process.
“Given that these were largely unverified amounts, it became prudent on the part of government to include processes that would be adopted in the implementation of the programme that would ensure transparency and value for money before the Promissory Notes are issued.
“One of such processes is the validation of the amounts against each creditor by an international accounting firm operating in Nigeria.
“Based on the approval by FEC, the DMO initiated steps towards the implementation of the Programme, one of which is the appointment of advisers using the provisions of the Public Procurement Act, 2007,” the DMO explained.
“However, since the Programme involves the issuance of sovereign debt instruments, which require the approval of NASS, as provided in the Fiscal Responsibility Act, 2007, there was a limit to what the DMO could do without a NASS approval,” it explained.
The required approval was given by NASS on September 26, 2018, through a letter from the Clerk of the National Assembly.
The office said that with the approval of NASS now in place, the DMO has accelerated implementation of the Programme, with a pledge to implement it in accordance with the process approved by FEC.