Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister for the Economy ,Dr Ngozi Okonjo Iweala said on Wednesday that 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 minister in statement by Paul Nwabuikwo, her senior special assistant said, “The true position is that the Federal Government has been meeting its obligations to oil marketers in respect of all legitimate claims.
She added that “between April and May 2012, Batches D/12 and E/12 involving 14 oil marketers with a claim of N17 billion 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 DMO to continue payments of all verified claims, N25.6 billion worth of claims have been fully settled with the issuance of Sovereign Debt Notes, the minister revealed .
In all, between April and August this year, in respect of 2012 PMS claims, Sovereign Debt Notes amounting to N42.666 billion have been issued to 31 oil marketers.
Okonjo Iweala noted that the claims by marketers who have been recommended for further investigation by the Aig-Imoukhuede Presidential Committee have not been paid. Payments or sanctions to this category of marketers will be determined by the outcome of investigations,she 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”Okonjo Iweala said ,adding that Nigerians should not be deceived by their antics.
She maintained that such tactics will not succeed because the Federal Government is determined to ensure that persons and organisations which did the wrong things do not get away with wrong actions and wrong behaviour.
“As we have communicated severally in the last few months, payment of marketers whose claims have been verified will continue to go on in a consistent and structured way which protects the best interests of the country.All marketers who have genuine issues to raise regarding their claims are encouraged to come forward for discussions or clarifications” Okonjo Iweala said.