Star Wars in Aso Rock: Diezani Alison-Madueke meets President Jonathan over Okonjo-Iweala

by Akan Ido

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has officially notified President Goodluck Jonathan, of the country the country faces in terms of acute fuel shortage if the Federal Government fails to pay the N1.13 trillion subsidy funds owed the corporation.

The NNPC, supported by the petroleum minister, Diezani Alison-Madueke, reportedly brought this grim forecast to the president’s notice at a recent engagement.

The NNPC reportedly made it clear that it can only guaranty a smooth flow of petroleum supply in the country if the money owed it by the FG is paid.

The finance minister and co-ordinating minister of the economy, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is said to be reluctant in releasing the said money.

“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 said.

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.

The NNPC’s acting group general manager, public affairs , Fidel Pepple, was not available to speak on the said meeting with Jonathan. Calls to his telephone were reportedly not answered.

Okonjo-Iweala’s senior special assistant on communications, Paul Nwabuikwu, did not pick his calls either. He also did not respond to a text message to his mobile phone on why the ministry had not paid the  subsidy claims.

Meanwhile, the executive secretary of the Jetty and Petroleum Tank Farm Owners group (JEPTFON), Enoch Kenawa, said during a telephone interview that the N971bn budget for subsidy in the 2013 fiscal year is not enough to guaranty unhindered supply of fuel products through the year.

He said, “It (N971bn) will not be adequate. What the government is doing is putting Nigerians in double jeopardy. They said they are subsidizing fuel, yet people can’t see the products to buy and where they have fuel, people still pay very high to get it.

“The N971bn for fuel subsidy can never be adequate. At 35 million litres of fuel consumption per day, the money can’t be enough.”

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