Oil marketers holding Nigerians to ransom, says Okonjo-Iweala

It was revealed that the Federal Government has faulted the N200 billion claim by oil marketers as outstanding payment on subsidy.

While briefing newsmen in Abuja on Sunday, the Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, faulted the claims of the oil marketers and said that they were holding the Nigerians to ransom.

“As you know, we paid N156 billion recently to the marketers; N100 billion being the principle payment we owed them and N56 billion being interest rate and some remaining exchange rate differentials.

“Prior to that, we paid them N31 billion as exchange rate differentials. At the time we paid that amount last week, what we had outstanding is N98 billion,’’ she said.

The minister said that government relies on the weekly data released by Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) to certify what was due to the marketers.

“Since we made the announcement last week, the outstanding payment has now risen from N98 billion to N131 billion.

“And they (marketers) are now making a demand of N200 billion and I asked them what is the balance for?

The Minister said the marketers were making demands for huge sums in exchange and interest rate differentials.

She added that the government had made it known to them that what they were requesting was huge especially the exchange rate differentials.

She said that PPPRA needed to look at the figures to ascertain if the way they were calculated was in line with the exchange rate policy of the Central Bank.

Okonjo-Iweala said the outgoing administration would not want to leave unverified claims or burden for the incoming government to pay.

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