Nigeria’s Finance Minister and coordinating Minister for the Economy, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has come out to refute claims that the current fuel scarcity seen in parts of the country was due to non-payment of claims to marketers, positing that it was as a result of pipeline vandalism and logistics.
Me made this known on Tuesday, March 3, 2015 when she addressed journalist in Abuja.
She said: “Government is very concerned about the fuel queues which have appeared in Lagos, Abuja and other parts of the country. As Nigerians can attest, the Petroleum Ministry and Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, have worked very hard to give out the message that there is no need for panic buying and that it is trying to reduce the queues to the barest minimum.
“We are working with them and in fact, the marketers are coming to meet with us tomorrow (today). We have also agreed to pay the interest rate and foreign exchange differentials.
“Tomorrow (today) we will be making part of that payment when the marketers are here and on the outstanding balance, we will be issuing SDN (Sovereign Debt Notes) to them so that the banks will know that the government has undertaken the obligations.”
Okonjo-Iweala further explained that the queues at the petrol stations were not as a result of payments as the Federal Government paid the N320.8 billion debt it owed the marketers in two installments in December.
Her words: “I want to emphasize 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 installments 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.”