The Senate is fiercely rejecting, and flagging as FALSE, a claim made by the Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari concerning payment of debts owed to Oil Marketers.
According to reports, Kyari claimed that the Senate was delaying a payment request by the Presidency to clear the debt owed to marketers.
Why it Matters?
The Federal Government is indebted to marketers by a tune of about N720 billion on subsidy claims, according to the Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria, MOMAN.
This debts according to the group, has made its members – the marketers – unable to import petroleum products into the country, with the exception of a few who are are presently importing insignificant quantities.
This situation has made the NNPC group the sole importer of Oil products in Nigeria as the Junior Petroleum Minister, Ibe Kachikwu, confirmed.
It is believed that the inability of marketers to import fuel or to pay for products brought in by the NNPC as a result of the indebtedness has been largely responsible for the scarcity in spite of the FG’s bogus claims of sabotage. Recall that the NNPC had accused marketers of owing N26.7 billion and it appears to give credence to the marketers claims.
Senate Reaction in Detail
The Senate, in a statement issued by the Chairman, Senate Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Aliyu Abdullahi said that there was no request to the effect of settling the subsidy claims.
Here are the two issues raised in the statement:
1. Presidency Categorically Lied About Seeking Approval And This Behavior Has Historical Precedence
“The attention of the Senate has been drawn to a claim said to have been made by the Chief of Staff to the President, Kyari, during a meeting with stakeholders in the oil industry on the perenial fuel scarcity in the country to the effect that the payment of debt owed to oil marketters was being delayed because the National Assembly has not approved request presented to the legislature for loan meant for that purpose.
“The Senate would want members of the public to know that no such request has been made to it specifically requesting for loan meant for payment to oil marketers.
“It should be noted that a similar claim was made by the Minister of Finance on the foreign loan at a time the presidency had not forwarded the request. The letter requesting for the foreign loan was submitted long after she was confronted with the fact,” the Senate said.
The Presidency Secretly Resumed Subsidy Without Knowledge of National Assembly
“The Senate is aware that subsidy on petroleum had been cancelled by this administration; so we wonder which payment we are talking about now.
“Senators have been inundated with calls from oil marketers who were present at the meeting with the Chief of Staff to the President on the issue and thus, we call on Kyari to either prove his claim or retract it.
“It is the opinion of the Senate that instead of resorting to false claims and shifting blames in the mould of ‘Blame Someone Else’, both the executive and legislature should work together to solve this unnecessary fuel crisis which is making life more difficult for our people.”