Editing Office - George Bukinor
The Federal Government and petroleum marketers have agreed on the settlement of outstanding claims and assured that operations at all depots and sales will continue until further notice. This is contained in a statement by Mr Paul Abechi, Special Assistant on Media and Communications to the Minister of Finance, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, on Thursday in Abuja. He said it was contained in a statement jointly signed by officials of the Federal Government and representatives of the petroleum marketers after a joint meeting on Thursday. According to him, the petroleum marketers expressed satisfaction over the arrangement being made by the Federal Government to settle their claims and assured the members of the public of availability of petroleum products. He said that the meeting which was held at the Ministry of Finance in Abuja, had in attendance senior government officials from the Ministry of Finance, the Debt Management Office (DMO), the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). Others present were officers from the Budget Office of the Federation, the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation and the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPRA). Also in attendance on the part of the petroleum marketers were representatives from the Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association (DAPPMA), Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN) and Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN). Abechi said, “the DAPPMA, MOMAN and IPMAN with the Federal Government delegation meeting held at the Ministry of Finance in Abuja on Thursday, agreed that operations at all depots and sales will continue until further notice. “After a meeting held today with senior government officials from the Ministry of Finance, the DMO, NNPC, CBN, the Budget Office of the Federation, the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation and the PPPRA, we are satisfied with the arrangements being made by the government to settle the claims of petroleum marketers. “The discussions showed that the government has considered the concerns and is reviewing the initial process approved by it for the settlement. “We consider that this shows the government’s responsiveness to the need for the claims to be settled in a timely manner. “We hereby wish to reassure the members of the public on the availability of Petroleum Motor Spirit (PMS), and we urge the public not to panic, as there will be no fuel scarcity. “The engagement of the two sides will continue on Monday”, he said. The Federal Government commenced the accelerated implementation of settlement of government arrears through promissory notes to oil marketers. The obligations due to the oil marketers represent interest accruals and foreign exchange differentials and the implementation is in line with the process approved by the Federal Executive Council (FEC). After the approval by FEC, President Muhammadu Buhari presented a request to NASS, as required by the Fiscal Responsibility Act, 2007. The current administration as one of its strategies to address inherited arrears to various contractors, approved the issuance of promissory notes to various categories of creditors. The categories of creditors for whom the settlement of arrears was approved by FEC include pensioners and staff, contractors, construction companies, exporters, DisCos, GenCos, State Governments, Judgement Debts and the petroleum marketers.