The Federal Government on Wednesday finally approved the payment of N407.07bn as fuel subsidy to oil marketers.
The payment was confirmed by the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, through a statement issued by the Director, Press in the Ministry of Finance, Mr. Marshal Gundu.
The payments according to the statement include arrears from the 2014 financial year as well as payments for the current year.
The minister in the statement said the approval was given following a directive issued by President Muhammadu Buhari that the amount be paid immediately to the oil marketers in order to end the lingering fuel scarcity in the country.
It called on the oil marketers to reciprocate the action of the Federal Government by ensuring that all fuel queues disappear within the shortest time possible.
The fuel scarcity which has been on for about a month had caused severe hardship to Nigerians.
The minister in the statement said despite the dwindling revenues, the Federal Government is still committed towards ensuring that Petroluem products are made available to Nigerians.
The statement reads in part, “The Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun has confirmed payment of N407,076,805,386.30 for subsidy claims to oil marketers so as to end the lingering fuel situation.
“The Minister stated that the President has directed that payments be made immediately in order to bring to a quick end the lingering fuel crisis which has caused great suffering to Nigerian families and businesses.”
“She also said that despite dwindling revenues, the government is committed to ensuring continuous availability of fuel to Nigerians.
“The payments include arrears from the 2014 financial year as well as payments for the current year. It is expected that the recipients would ensure adequate supply of fuel to end the persistent fuel shortage in the nation.
“With this action which shows that government is fully committed to meeting its financial obligations in respect of fuel subsidy, the Minister further implored the major oil marketers to reciprocate the action by doing all they can to bring the fuel scarcity to an end.”
A total of N143bn was approved by the National Assembly in April this year for subsidy payment for the 2015 fiscal period.
A breakdown of the amount showed that the sum of N100bn was provided for as subsidy for Premium Motor Spirit, while N43bn was approved for Dual Purpose Kerosene.
Following the utilization of the amount, President Muhammadu Buhari had sent a supplementary budget to the Senate requesting additional N413bn for payment of subsidy to oil marketers.
However, the senate after considering the proposal increased the subsidy budget by N109bn bringing the amount approved by the upper chamber as subsidy to N522.25bn.
The federal government in 2013, budgeted the sum of N970bn for fuel subsidy same as the 2014 fiscal period.