Fuel subsidy: FG names 21 companies under investigation; Appeals to NUPENG to call-off strike
By Hauwa Noroh Ali, Abuja
The Federal Ministry of Finance has published the names of 21 firms being investigated under the fuel subsidy regime.
The ministry in a statement issued by the Special Assistant to the Finance Minister on Media, Mr Paul Nwabuikwu said the firms were being investigated based on the report of the Presidential Committee on Fuel Subsidy Payments, headed by Mr Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede.
The companies are:
1. ALMINNUR RESOURCES LTD
2. BRILLA ENERGY LED
3. CAADES OIL AND GAS LTD
4. CAPITAL OIL AND GAS INDUSTRY LTD
5. CONNOIL PLC
6. DOWNSTREAM ENERGY SOURCE LTD
7. ETERNA PLC
8. EURAAFRIC OIL AND GAS LTD
9. LUMEN SKIES LTD
10. MAJOPE INVESTMENT LTD
11. MATRIX ENERGY LTD
12. MENON OIL AND GAS LTD
13. MOB INTERNATIONAL SERVICES
14. MRS OIL AND GAS LTD
15. NASAMAN OIL SERVICES LTD
16. NATACEL PETROLEUM LTD
17. OCEAN ENERGY TRADING AND SERVICES
18. PINNACLE CONTRACTORS LTD
19. SIFAX OIL AND GAS COMPANY
20. TONIQUE OIL SERVICES LTD
21. TOP OIL AND GAS DEVELOPMENT CO. LTD
The statement noted that the Aig-Imoukhuede committee's report recommended that these firms should refund various sums to the Federal Government's treasury.
Also, the statement listed a second group of companies with infractions considered by the government and Aig-Imoukhuede-led committee as “relatively minor.’’
According to the statement, these categories of companies are in discussion with government for a quick resolution of their issues.
It gave conditions in which government was prepared to settle their claims.
“For oil marketers under investigation for possible refunds to the government, their 2012 outstanding claims will be netted out against their expected refunds to government. For those with a positive net balance, that is outstanding claims greater than expected refunds will be processed and paid.’’
For marketers that owed government more in refunds than government owes them, the Aig-Imoukhuede committee would accelerate review of their documents after the Eid-el- Fitr public holidays.
It assured Nigerians that claims for marketers in this category would be processed and settled, if cleared, without further delay after the public holiday.
“For others that may not be in the above categories but who have other issues or claims, their claims will also be addressed with the same dispatch.”
The statement also reiterated that the ministry was not responsible for the looming fuel supply shortage in Abuja and environs caused by the oil marketers strike over delayed payment of subsidy claims.
“It is clear that those behind the strikes are marketers being investigated. These elements have now resorted to hiding behind the unions to unnecessarily antagonise government and create hardship for Nigerians We want to make it clear that government will fully investigate their activities and if found guilty, bring them to book and recover all public funds fraudulently obtained, in the guise of fuel subsidy claims. No degree of blackmail will stop the government from doing its work. Government will, therefore, pursue justice and ensure that those who are found guilty are appropriately sanctioned.’’
The statement reaffirmed that between April and August, the Sovereign Debt Notes amounting to N42.66 billion were issued to 31 oil marketers, in respect of the 2012 fuel subsidy claims.
“These are incontrovertible facts which confirm government’s commitment to ensuring that issues concerning genuine marketers with legitimate claims are dealt with expeditiously”.
Meanwhile The Minister of Labour and Productivity, Mr Emeka Wogu, has appealed to the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) to call-off its ongoing strike in the FCT and seek dialogue.
This was contained in a statement signed by Mr Samuel Olowookere, the Assistant Director of Press in the Ministry, on Saturday in Abuja.
The release stated that the Minister, on Friday, met with the representatives of NUPENG and other stakeholders in the industry, including representatives of the Petroleum Tanker Drivers (PTD) and officials of NNPC.
It quoted Wogu as urging the trade union to call of the strike and continue to engage in dialogue with government on matters affecting it.
“Although the issues about the strike were unresolved, the channels of communication between the organisation and the government can be addressed through dialogue. As Nigerians prepare to celebrate the Sallah, it is important for to avoid creating any situation of distress such as strikes or withdrawal of services of any kind. Government is always open to any negotiations on the points in this dispute, and to find amicable resolution, NUPENG also has a duty to the possible.”
Wogu, therefore, appealed to the union to consider the larger interest of the Nigerian citizens by calling off its strike action.