President Muhammadu Buhari has sought the approval of the National Assembly to pay the N413bn approved last week as subsidy claims to oil marketers across the country.
The Federal Government stated on Wednesday that it was making efforts to pay the outstanding subsidy claims in a week’s time.
The newly sworn-in Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, admitted that the marketers had yet to receive the approved amount and explained that it was going through a process.
Kachikwu spoke at the headquarters of the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources in Abuja shortly after he was inaugurated.
He said, “If you know this President, you will know he doesn’t pay lip service (to issues). There is no lip service about that issue. The money was approved by the President and it has not reached them (marketers) physically because there is a process that our constitution requires in terms of approving this sort of expenditure. It is an extra-budgetary approval.
“So, the President is taking time to write to the National Assembly to apprise it of the need to do this. I was one of those who pushed heavily for that money to be paid because when you don’t do that, most of their factories are closing, their capacity to import is almost zero, their staff members have not been paid for some months and the NNPC does not have the singular capacity to import all the products required in this country. So, those are the clear facts.
“So, do we want to pay? Yes. Have we provided for the money? Yes. But do we need approval from outside the executive to implement that? Yes. So, it is going through a process. I do urge them (marketers) to be a bit patient; the President is working hard on this and I’m sure in a matter of a week, or so, you will have this issue resolved.”
On fuel queues at filling stations, Kachikwu said there was enough supply of petrol, adding that the country currently had enough of the product to last for about 22 or 23 days.
“The absence of product is not the issue. What is the issue is the usual panic-buying by Nigerians. The number of trucks that have been moved around over the last three days are in excess of 4,000, whereas the total normal utilisation yield is about 2,500 trucks. Again, there are people who store products and the DPR has sealed a lot of such stations in the last one week,” he added.
Kachikwu told workers at the Ministry of Petroleum Resources that work was going to be very intense, adding that the capacities of the managing directors of agencies under the ministry would be reviewed.
He said, “We need to sit down and map out very clear deliverables. I will imagine that in the first couple of months, we will let the MDs of the various parastatals work with us to understand what the agenda of this administration is. But fairly quickly, we will also sit down and see whether they are in the capacity to deliver those results.
“I am not saying that I’m going to change people, but we will absolutely require you to show an ability to deliver the sort of change mantra that we are looking at. As far as the President is concerned, there are very clear key deliverables. It is going to be a bumpy ride but let’s join the race.”
Kachikwu noted that the 445,000 barrels of crude oil being supplied to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation on a daily basis might be reduced in the coming months, adding that statistics showed that the country might not be consuming up to 40 million litres of petrol daily.