The government said in a statement issued on Wednesday by the Senior Special Assistant to the Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance, Mr. Paul Nwabuikwu, that it had been discharging its responsibilities to marketers whose claims had been verified.
Nwabuikwu said, “The claim by some marketers that they have embarked on strike because the Federal Government has failed to pay them for fuel imports is not accurate.
“The true position is that the Federal Government has been meeting its obligations to oil marketers in respect of all legitimate claims.
“For instance, between April and May 2012, batches D/12 and E/12 involving 14 oil marketers with a claim of N17bn were fully settled through the issuance of Sovereign Debt Notes and other relevant documentation.
“In addition, since the directive by the Coordinating Minister to the Debt Management Office to continue payments of all verified claims, N25.6bn worth of claims have been fully settled with the issuance of Sovereign Debt Notes. In all, between April and August this year, in respect of 2012 PMS claims, Sovereign Debt Notes amounting to N42.666bn have been issued to 31 oil marketers.”
He, however, said claims by marketers who had been recommended for further investigation by the Aig-Imoukhuede Presidential committee had not been paid.
Payments or sanctions to this category of marketers, according to the statement, will be determined by the outcome of investigations.
Nwabuikwu further said, “Against this background, it is clear that the strike was instigated mainly by marketers who were indicted by the Aig-Imoukhuede committee, which investigated fuel subsidy payments.
“Their obvious intention is to blackmail the Federal Government in order to escape sanctions for the crimes they have committed. Nigerians should not be deceived by their antics. Such tactics will not succeed because the Federal Government is determined to ensure that persons and organisations, which did wrong things, do not get away with wrong actions and wrong behaviour.”
He gave an assurance that payment of marketers whose claims had been verified would continue in a consistent and structured way that would protect the best interests of the country.