The Senate on Wednesday approved the payment of N348 billion as outstanding subsidy claims to 74 petroleum marketers. 

However, the marketers will not be paid in cash but in promissory notes. 

This followed adoption of the interim report of the Committee on Petroleum Downstream on the Promissory Note Programme and a Bond Issuance to Settle Inherited Local Debts and Contractual Obligations to Petroleum Marketers. 

Out of this amount, 55 oil marketers are to receive N275,750,415,108 while 19 others will get N73,452,639,866. 

While the committee recommended that the 55 oil marketers be paid 100 percent of their verified claims, it called for the payment of 65 percent claims to marketers due to contentions in their figures. 

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The upper house also mandated the committee to continue its engagement with the Ministry of Finance, oil marketing companies, Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) and others in order to update all the outstanding liabilities and clear all outstanding debts, interest accrued and forex differential once and for all. 

Chairman of the committee, Kabir Marafa (APC, Zamfara State), noted that although marketers made claims to the tune of N670,497,543,15, as of June 30, 2017, the PPPRA verified and approved the sum of N429,054,203,228 to the Federal Ministry of Finance. 

He explained that while the verified figure was approved by the Federal Executive Council, further verification by the Presidential Initiative on Continuous Audit (PICA) reduced the amount to N407,255,263,288. 

The panel observed that continuous delay of the approval of President Muhammadu Buhari's promissory note request will affect the liquidity of the Oil Marketing Companies and undermine their crucial role in the development of the economy. 

Notable among the oil marketers and the amount approved for them are: Aiteo N4,988,199,360; Conoil N5,588,285,132; Forte Oil N15,480,445,907; Bovas N5,953,684,258; Capital Oil N8,339,052,402; Mobil N8,282,363,478; MRS Oil and Gas N20,948,270,002; Oando N14,972,585,600; Total N21,569,996,843 among others. 

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