The Federal Government on Thursday said it had paid N156 billion debt to oil marketers in line with its commitment to prioritise payments in spite of revenue constraints.

This is contained in a statement by the Special Adviser to the Coordinating Minister and Minister of Finance, Mr Paul Nwabuikwu, on Thursday in Abuja.

The statement stated that the payment had two components comprising `I owe you’ (IOU), given in March and interest on payment.

“The first consists of the cash backing of the N100 billion IOU which the marketers were given in March. The second is N56 billion in interest payments for the marketers according to the PPPRA template.

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“This leaves a balance of N98 billion certified by PPPRA as the amount owed the markers,” it stated.

It explained that the N156 billion was the latest in a series of significant payments made to the oil marketers within the last five months.

It explained that these included over N300 billion in two instalments in December last year and N31 billion in interest differentials recently.

It stated that in all, oil marketers had received over N500 billion within the past five months.

Okonjo-Iweala, in the statement, urged the marketers to appreciate the efforts being made by the government to meet up with their payments.

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The coordinating minister also urged them to reciprocate with some understanding of the situation of Nigerians who should not suffer more.

The minister urged the marketers to sustain the distribution and supply of fuel to end the suffering of Nigerians at fuel stations.

“The Federal Government has made maximum effort, in spite of the well-known fact that the fall in oil prices has significantly reduced national revenues, to prioritise payments to marketers.

“For the sake of Nigerians who are bearing the brunt of fuel scarcity, the marketers should reciprocate in the spirit of dialogue and cooperation in which we have always tried to engage them,” she said.

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The Executive Secretary, Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN), Mr Obafemi Olawore, in a telephone interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), appreciated the gesture and commended the Federal Government for fulfilling its promises.

Olawore, however, said the association would not take any corresponding action until its members received payment alert from their respective banks.

The MOMAN scribe said the association was ready to commence importation and distribution of fuel to end the suffering of Nigerians at fuel stations once the money hit their accounts.

He said the members would not work with any paper promise without cash backing.(NAN)

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