Abuja — The Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation has begun payment of fuel subsidy claims to marketers, Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala said.
Okonjo-Iweala, who disclosed this while briefing newsmen in Abuja on Tuesday, said the National Assembly had approved a supplementary budget of N161 billion to help clear the marketers' subsidy claims for 2012.
"I was informed just before I came in here that the money is being credited to the account now as we speak. "You know the conversion is being done and it's being credited to the accounts, so, marketers who have being and who said that they have not able to access should go now, today and take their money.
"It's not something that takes a month but it's normally less than a week, they are crediting the accounts now by the Accountant General of the federation." Cue out audio 1 She attributed the delay in the payment
to the process of conversion of the money from a dollar crude account to domestic naira account.
"As at Dec. 31st, the Ministry of Finance had approved for this money to be available in the central bank accounts where they can be accessed by the marketers once they have presented their papers and their sovereign debt notes had been issued. "I understand what is being done at this moment is that that money is being converted from dollars - because it is out of our crude oil earnings - into naira
"And that takes a few days, so a few technical issues are being done but it's being done now the conversion and the money is available." Cue out audio 2 According to her, 23 oil marketers had so far finished their paper work for a total claim of N94 billion.
She said the amount had been approved and paid to them, adding that others were expected to complete their paper work to enable them access their monies. On the 2013 budget, the minister said: "We are waiting for the full budget; so, I have no comment on the budget until we get the full budget from the National Assembly and that is about all I am going to say." (NAN)