03 March 2015, Abuja – The Federal Government on Tuesday expressed concern over the fuel queues that have lingered in Lagos, Abuja and other parts of the country.
It stated that a Sovereign Debt Note of N100bn had been issued by the Debt Management Office to settle part of the amount owed oil marketers as fuel subsidies.
The Minister of Finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, confirmed the issuance of the SDN through a statement by her Special Adviser on Communications, Mr Paul Nwabuikwu.
The minister, in the statement, sympathised with Nigerians, whose lives were being disrupted by queues and assured them that the government was working hard to end the scarcity soon.
Specifically, she said an agreement had been reached between the Federal Government and oil marketers union that N100bn out of the N185bn be paid.
The minister said as part of this agreement, the government would not only pay the costs that the marketers had incurred, but also the interests payment and foreign exchange differentials.
In order to facilitate the payment, the minister said the Central Bank of Nigeria had given approvals for the banks to issue letters of credit to oil marketers.
The minister in the statement said contrary to speculations, the queues were not caused by payment issues, noting that the government had paid oil marketers a total of N320.8bn from the Excess Crude Account in two installments in December last year.
This, she stated, underscored the fact that the government was taking payment of marketers very seriously.
The statement reads in part, “Government is very concerned about the fuel queues which have appeared in Lagos, Abuja and other parts of the country.
“The situation is due to a mix of factors including disruption of pipelines and logistical issues and they are being attended to urgently.
“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 N320.8bn from the Excess Crude account in two instalments 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.”