Briefing State House Correspondents after the Federal Executive Council meeting, the Minister said over N320 billion had been paid to the marketers and that all outstanding issues have been resolved.
She also noted that the scarcity was caused by a number of factors which included the depreciation in exchange rate.
She said, “We discussed that (fuel scarcity) at the FEC because Mr. President wanted prompt and quick action to improve the situation as fast as possible.
“So, after the briefing and discussion on both the financial and physical side, what emanated is that this situation, we hope will soon be resolved because both on the financial side, action has been taken and it is being implemented through the Ministry of Finance and the Governor of the CBN.
“Let it be known that in December we paid N320.2 billion to marketers to settle their claims and as of now, what we have approved by Petroleum Products Pricing and Regulatory Agency is about N185 billion on Sunday, which we are issuing sovereign debt notes to which is tantamount to having government guarantee that they will be paid.
“But the long and short of the matter is that the financial issue has been taken care of.
The Executive Secretary, Petroleum Product Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA), Mr Farouk Ahmed, had on Tuesday blamed the scarcity of fuel on the inability of petroleum marketers to get letters of credit from commercial banks to enable them import fuel.
He also blamed two rounds of naira devaluation carried out by the Central Bank of Nigeria.
“The recent events have to do with delay in the arrival of cargoes. Non-arrival of cargoes made it difficult for Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) to be delivered. What actually complicated it was the devaluation of naira – two times. The first one that took place on November 28, 2014 when Naira was devalued from N155 to N168 to $1. The second one that took place on February 18 brought the exchange rate to N199 to $1.
“These two developments brought a lot of confusion into the oil sector. Marketers were not sure of the actual delivery cost. We had to draw a new template as advised by the CBN. The delay we have now is caused by the November devaluation. But the reality is that the policy is clear now”, he said.
The PPPRA Executive Secretary made the explanation at a budget defense session in the senate in response to questions from lawmakers on the long queues at petrol stations across the country.