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The Senate has finally approved the subsidy bill requested by President Muhammadu Buhari for the promissory note programme and bond issuance to settle inherited local debts and contractual obligations to Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) to the tune of N348 billion as an interim measure. One will have thought the requested will not see the light of the day, especially now that most bill presented by the office of the President has been under microscopic scrutiny of the PDP Senators, who thought some bill are just concocted just to raise money for hidden elections.
The Senate also directed that the amount should be paid to 74 OMCs for the time being in order to stem the threat of fuel scarcity, increase economic activities and promote more harmonious relationship between government and companies.
The resolution was reached after the adoption of the interim report of the committee on petroleum (downstream).
Out of the amount to be given to the OMCs, the Senate said N275.7bn should go to 55 companies, whose actual debt figures were verified, while N73.4bn should be given to 19 companies with contentious claims.
The amount to be paid to those with contentious claims represents 65 per cent of their claims, pending when all issues would be resolved.
The committee in its report observed that the Federal Ministry of Finance verified the sum of N429bn as the amount being owed based on the computation done by the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA).
But after another verification exercise by the Presidential Initiative on Continuous Audit (PICA), the amount became N407.5bn as the final figure due to the OMCs as at June 30, 2017.
However, the report noted that the oil companies claimed that they were being owed the sum of N670.4bn.
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