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IS IT YOUR MONEY? Diezani, NNPC report Okonjo-Iweala to Jonathan over unpaid subsidy

THE Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation has alerted President Goodluck Jonathan  to  a looming acute  fuel shortage  if the Federal Government fails to pay N1.13trn subsidy  owed it (NNPC).

The NNPC top management, led by the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, and the corporation’s Group Managing Director, Mr. Andrew Yakubu, reportedly made this known to Jonathan at a recent meeting.

Our correspondent learnt that team told the President  that  the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala,  had  failed to pay the  debt.

At the meeting, the corporation was said to have hinged its capacity to continue the importation of fuel on the payment of the debt  which had accumulated over the months.

The NNPC, The PUNCH learnt, told the President that fuel might disappear from filling stations across the country if  government  failed to pay the debt. This is in addition to the fear that the N971bn subsidy provision in the 2013 budget is seen as grossly inadequate.

“Yes, we have made a presentation to the President. We are waiting for his response because it (payment of the subsidy claim) is very imperative for our capacity to import fuel ,” a source at the NNPC, who was privy to discussion at the meeting told  one of our correspondents.

Alison-Madueke and the NNPC management were said to have requested for the meeting with the President after their failed attempts to make Okonjo-Iweala pay the subsidy claim.

The corporation has remained the only importer of fuel since the controversy  over the payment of subsidy claims to importers commenced. Oil marketers have refused to import the product because the government has  declined  to pay  some claims which the government  described as  spurious.

Attempts to speak with  the NNPC Acting Group General Manager, Public Affairs , Mr. Fidel Pepple, on the meeting with the President proved abortive as he  did not answer his telephone  calls. He also failed to respond to text messages sent to his phone on the matter.

However, Pepple in June had confirmed in an interview with Reuters that the organisation owed N1.13trn in subsidy arrears.

He had said, “As at the end of May 2012, NNPC had unpaid claims of N1.134trn.

“We are concerned about the shortages but just to put it on record, NNPC has been the only organisation importing products since January when the fuel subsidy issue began.”

Okonjo-Iweala’s Senior Special Assistant on Communications, Mr. Paul Nwabuikwu, did not pick his call either. He also did not respond to a text message sent to his mobile phone on why the ministry had not paid the  subsidy claims.

Oil marketers under the Jetty and Petroleum Tank Farm Owners have however  faulted the N971bn budgeted for the subsidy in the 2013 fiscal year.

The group said the amount would not be enough to guarantee adequate supply of petroleum products.

 

via Punch

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