Okonjo-Iweala: I will not pay oil marketers

Ngozi-Okonjo-IwealaFinance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has accused the oil importers of submitting to government suspicious payment claims to the tune of N159billion in exchange rate differentials.


The payment claims, according to her, reeked of fraud.


She told reporters at a farewell meeting in Abuja that she would not approve payment of the claims unless verified by the relevant authorities.


“Marketers were asking for N159 billion for exchange rate differentials from the outstanding N200 billion. There has been so much fraud and scam so I have refused to sign for that money but have agreed that a committee be set up involving the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to verify marketers’ claims,” she said.


”Marketers just want to make Nigerians suffer,” she added.


The minister also slammed the marketers for allegedly blackmailing Nigerians and asked the people to resist.


Insisting that the current fuel scarcity has nothing to do with paying the marketers, she said: “They are making a lot of money from black market activities, people should rise up against the blackmail of oil marketers.


“I will not pay the N159 billion without verification, Nigerians should not allow themselves to be blackmailed.”


The minister said there was something curious about the supply of and payment for Premium Motor Spirit (PMS).


Her words: “I cannot say that the problem is due to not paying marketers, the process of paying marketers is always a rolling process and there has never been a time government reduced its financial obligation to marketers to zero.


“In a year where so much effort has been made to pay marketers including prioritizing their payment as subsidy claims in favour of other financial obligation like paying contractors, yet fuel scarcity still persists at this particular point in time suggests that something suspicious is happening.”


Meanwhile, there is still no respite for motorists and commuters across the country as the fuel scarcity persisted yesterday.


Most filling stations remained shut and only a few managed to sell but at exorbitant prices.


On the other hand black markets continue to thrive with operators charging as much as N350 per litre in parts of Lagos.

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