Senate queries Debt Management Office over forex rates used for fuel marketers

The Senate has criticised the Federal Government for its alleged refusal to pay oil subsidy claims by petroleum products’ marketers. It said the government failed to pay the marketers despite the approval granted by the National Assembly since July, 2018 The Senate Committee on Petroleum (Downstream), held a stakeholders meeting in Abuja where the committee members took turns to disparage the government’s action. The senators claimed that government agencies appeared to have been deliberately slowing down paying the products marketers their entitlements. The committee ordered the Federal Ministry of Finance to, within one week initiate a meeting with other government’s agencies and the marketers to reconcile figures of subsidy claims. The committee also resolved that the meeting should discuss ways and means of fast tracking payment of arrears claims without further delay. Th Senators mandated the stakeholders to report back to the committee the progress made next week. The upper chamber had, in July 2018, approved payments of subsidy claims of over N348billion to oil marketing companies. The approval was granted based on a request by President Muhammadu Buhari, following, the adoption of an interim report by the committee on “Promissory Note Programme and Bond Issuance to Settle Inherited Local Debts and Contractual Obligations to Petroleum Marketers.” The Senate approved that the 55 oil marketers should be paid verified figures totalling N275,750,415,108. The upper chamber said 19 other marketers “with contentious claims and verified figures” be paid 65 per cent of their claims, totaling N73,452,639,866, pending further investigation and verification by the committee. Chairman of the committee, Senator Kabiru Marafa, said the meeting was called to know how far the Federal Government had implemented the Senate’s resolution. He said his committee wanted to know the situation with the 19 marketers with contentious claims.