OrderPaperToday- The senate has asked oil marketers to hold off on the ultimatum they issued hinting at an impending strike.
On the 2nd of December, oil marketers in the country issued a seven-day ultimatum to the federal government, asking them to settle their outstanding debts of about N800 billion or they, the oil marketers, will cease operations across the country.
In a move to avert a looming fuel crisis, the red chamber urged the oil marketers to give the federal government more time to look into their demands.
The upper legislative chamber also asked the federal government to direct all concerned agencies to immediately pay the subsidy arrears as approved by the Federal Executive Council and passed by the National Assembly.
In July this year, the chamber approved the payment of N348 billion as ‘outstanding subsidy claim’ to 78 oil marketers, accrued from 2006.
However, after the passage, the chamber observed that the Debt Management Office introduced very stringent measures for the issuance of the promissory note.
These measures included that documents be reviewed by an international accounting firm amongst other absurd steps.
In a point of order, the Chairman of the Downstream eSctor, Kabir Marafa, noted that the procedure of document review by an international accounting form after “it was authenticated by the presidential initiative for continuous audit approved by FEC and passed NASS is a wrong process.”
According to him, the debt profile is closer to One Trillion Naira.
Reacting to this, Senator Yahaya Yahaya lamented that whoever is behind the non-issuance of the monies “does not mean well for this country.”
Senator Barnanbas Gemade stated that the problem lies with the agencies who ought to release the funds.
He said: “Is it the DMO that is stopping the payment, or the Central Bank or Ministry of Finance? All those do not answer to the National Assembly. I don’t see why we should come here to urge the executive to do its work.”
As part of its resolutions the chamber called on the federal government to engage marketers and agree on outstanding liabilities to put an end to these subsidy claims while the marketers and DMO should engage themselves to determine an appropriate financial instrument for the repayment of the debt.