The Federal Government has said it will pay oil marketers N236 billion on Friday.
This was revealed on Saturday by the Chief Operating Officer, Downstream, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Henry Ikem-Obih.
Ikem-Obih, whodisclosed this to journalists after a meeting with officials of petroleum product marketers in Abuja, said the payment was the first tranche of the outstanding N348 billion subsidy claims that it owed members of the Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria and the Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association.
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 pay the first tranche as promised and will be paid through 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.
He said the decision to pay through promissory notes was based on the need to manage cash injection into the economy.
He said injecting cash of such magnitude into the economy might affect the country negatively.
He said the government would fully pay the oil marketers and had directed that there would be no deductions from the marketers’ account to settle debts owed government.
He said: “Some oil marketing companies, DAPPMA and MOMAN members are indebted to Federal Government agencies like the Federal Inland Revenue Service.
“But the government has directed that the debts should not be deducted from the payments.
“This is because if we do, most of the marketers would be left without a dime.”
On the disparity between the N800 billion as claimed by the oil marketers and the N348bn that was approved by the National Assembly, Ikem-Obih said the debt position of all the marketers to the government was considered and agreed upon as of June 30, 2018.
This, he said, was presented to the National Assembly for approval, which after consideration of the debts, approved N348 billion.