Federal Government pays N259 billion subsidy claims!

The Federal Government has paid a total of N259, 339, 041, 657.85 as subsidy for 2012 and the arrears of 2011 claims, the Ministry of Finance announced Monday.

The ministry, in a statement by the Senior Special Assistant to the Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance, Mr. Paul Nwabuikwu, said that contrary to the impression given by some marketers, the Federal Government, which has budgeted N888 billion for fuel subsidy, has continued to pay marketers whose claims had been duly verified.

The current tight supply of petroleum products, especially in Lagos, has been attributed to the reluctance of major marketers to import the products, citing the delay in the payment of their subsidy claims.

There has been no significant improvement in fuel supply despite the fact that the six major marketers and NIPCO Plc received products from two vessels laden with petrol that was imported by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).

In the heat of last month’s fuel scarcity in Abuja following strike by oil workers, the ministry had revealed that the government had paid over N43 billion in three months to oil marketers as fuel subsidy claims.

Among the oil marketers that the ministry listed Monday as having received payment, are: Integrated Oil and Gas Limited; Masters Energy Oil and Gas Limited; Mobil Oil Nigeria Plc; MRS Oil and Gas Limited; NIPCO Plc; Oando Plc; and Total Nigeria Plc.

They are some of the 24 companies that were paid a total of N78.9billion as their 2012 subsidy claims.

Capital Oil and Gas Limited; Ceoti Limited; Eterna Oil and Gas Plc; Forte Oil Plc; Heyden Petroleum Limited; Integrated Oil and Gas Limited; MRS Oil and Gas Company Limited; MRS Oil Nigeria Plc and Pinnacle Contractors Limited are among the 79 companies that were paid arrears of 2011 subsidy claims in 2012.

The statement did not however disclose if these companies were paid all their claims or not.

A breakdown of the payments to the marketers, according to the ministry, shows that 24 companies submitted and were paid 43 different subsidy claims for 2012; totalling N78,899,342,509.65.

Of the total amount of N78.9 billion paid so far under this category, the ministry said N34.6 billion was paid on August 22 following a thorough process of claims verification.

The list also showed that 79 companies, including the 25 companies recommended for further criminal investigation by the Aig-Imoukhuede Committee, were paid arrears of 2011 claims in 2012, bringing the total payment to N259,339,041,657.85.

Nwabuikwu, however, clarified that some claims were settled before the substantive implementation of the Aig-Imoukhuede Committee’s report which led to the suspension of payments of all 2012 claims to oil marketers under investigation for serious infractions.

Nwabuikwu said the payment made to the marketers was in line with the Federal Government’s commitment to encourage honest and professional private sector operators in the subsidy regime.