The Federal government of Nigeria has approved the payment of 413 billion naira ($2.1 billion) to oil marketers as outstanding payment for fuel subsidy claims, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) said on Wednesday.
The government had not announced a payment to oil marketers in Africa’s biggest crude producer since July. NNPC said it hoped the payment meant marketers would help to ensure the country “remains wet with petroleum products all year round”.
Nigeria imports the bulk of the 40 million litres a day of gasoline and fuels that it consumes owing to a neglected refining system and operates a costly subsidy system to reimburse oil product importers.
An acute fuel shortage crippled Africa’s most populace nation in April and May as fuel importers shut their depots to press their case for the payment of subsidy-related debts they said were owed by the then government.
That administration was run by Goodluck Jonathan, the predecessor of President Muhammadu Buhari who took office in late May.
Buhari, who has said he will keep the petroleum portfolio for himself in his cabinet, has been expected to review closely the subsidy scheme, which was revealed to have paid out over $6 billion in fraudulent claims in 2012.
($1 = 198.9800 naira)
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