Response To Sahara Reporters: Latest Updates On Payment To Oil Marketers
Dear Mr Sowore,
Given the well documented track record of your medium for publishing outright lies and exaggerations against Dr Okonjo-Iweala and her work, I am not sure giving you the facts will make any difference to what you eventually publish. You have an unfortunate reputation for publishing to fit a predetermined slant, publishing to the answer so to speak.
This is no idle comment. Several weeks ago, Saharareporters published a story which alleged that the minister called the Publisher of Thisday newspaper to demand the sacking of an editor over a story she didn't like. It never happened. It was a blatant lie, a total invention. She had not even read the story she was supposedly angry about and she certainly did not make any such phone call. That is just one example out of many.
An independent analysis of Saharareporters stories about her(which I am sure you have seen) points to 99 percent being negative. So I am sure that regardless of what the facts are you will publish what you have already decided.
Nevertheless for the record and in the interest of the Nigerian public which has a right to correct information, I will answer your question.
First, it is important to keep in mind the big picture about the current status of payments to marketers compared to the recent past.
In response to public anger about high payments to marketers in 2011, the Federal Ministry of Finance working under the CME with DMO and PPPRA instituted new processes and procedures to curb fraud and inefficiency. The ministry makes payments based on verified batched claims sent by PPPRA to DMO which verifies them again in a new process put in place before final payment.
As a result, the payments have declined from N2.2 trillion in 2011 to N950 billion in 2012, much of this due to subsidy phase down but a good part also due to better verification processes.
Regarding your specific question, the Federal Ministry of Finance has thus far this year paid N287 billion in verified claims to marketers. The details have been published in our regular updates in the newspapers and magazines.
We are getting ready to make additional payments to marketers. Marketers are also making claims for interest and foreign exchange differentials as provided for in the PPPRA template, which have not been paid, and we are verifying those as well.
As the public has been made aware, no marketer involved in questionable deals is paid. All fraudulent marketers identified by the Aig-Imoukhuede committee had their names published in the media. A few were subsequently sent by the committee to the Serious Fraud Office for further investigation and were later cleared based on their defence and a re-examination of the evidence. These joined the list of cleared marketers. The others remain blacklisted.