Federal Government said yesterday that it is withholding N29 billion claims by some oil marketers as subsidy payment pending the outcome of the investigation by the economic and Financial Crime Commission on the issue.
The Minister of Finance Dr. Okonjo-Iweala told newsmen in Abuja that the Presidential committee on subsidy claims headed by the Group Managing Director of Access Bank Plc Mr. Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede has submitted its report and uncovered NN232.2 billion claims that cannot be substantiated.
Marketers have made over N1 trillion subsidy claims, prompting government to set committees to verify the claims.
In January, Federal Government announced total removal of subsidy and raised fuel pump to N141 per litre. After protest by Nigerians and civil society, government reversed and reduced pump price to N97 per litre.
"Let me make one point to clarify where we are. As you saw in the paper last week, the committee has finished its verification and as at now what they have seen as dubious claims is about N232.2 billion," the minister said.
She said they verified claims worth about N1 trillion and N232 billion is what has been seen as claims that cannot be substantiated.
The minister said: "They have done their final bit of work and they have handed it over to committee members. Whenever they verified we make payments. I am happy to say that we would also make payments now that the final verification is done.
"We are preparing to make payment in December so that there will be no queue due to non payments of marketers. We are working on it based on this final report. We are also working to see how much of this N232 billion can be ploughed back.
"If they are claims that have not been verified, it means they need to be paid back to the federal government. I believe that we have managed to hold back some of these payments now pending anything that comes out from the EFCC.
The N29 billion out of this N232 billion are people who say the federal government owes them. We say we cannot pay them when we have this fraudulent allegation against them. Unless the EFCC comes out to say there is no criminal action, this is the money that would be recovered to the state."