The Federal Government on Saturday declared that it would pay oil marketers N236bn next Friday.
It said the payment was the first tranche of the outstanding N348bn subsidy claims that it owes members of the Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria and the Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association.
The Chief Operating Officer, Downstream, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Henry Ikem-Obih, disclosed this to journalists after a meeting with officials of petroleum product marketers in Abuja.
Ikem-Obih stated that the remaining portion of the claims would be paid in 2019.
He said, “We agreed that after the first tranche is paid, the marketers would form a committee to work on details of how the next tranche will be paid in 2019 and the last tranche in 2020.
“Government is fully committed to paying the first tranche as promised and will be paid through a promissory note that would be issued by the Debt Management Office.”
Ikem-Obih said the Federal Government had insisted on making the payments through promissory notes, which was equivalent to cash and could be liquidated almost immediately.
According to him, the decision to pay through promissory notes was based on the need to manage cash injection into the economy, as he noted that injecting cash of such magnitude into the economy might affect the country negatively.
Ikem-Obih said the government will fully pay the oil marketers and had directed that there will be no deductions from the marketers’ account to settle debts owed the government.
“Some oil marketing companies, DAPPMA, and MOMAN members are indebted to Federal Government agencies, like the Federal Inland Revenue Service.
“But the government had directed that the debts should not be deducted from the payments. This is because if we did, most of the marketers would be left without a dime,” he added.