The senate has approved a sum of N129.4 billion as payment to oil marketers importing refined crude into the country.

The upper legislative chamber approved the sum after Kabir Marafa, senate chairman on petroleum resources (downstream), presented a report on Thursday.

While moving a motion for the report to be considered, Marafa noted that the aforementioned sum is the last payment to the marketers.

“It was first considered on the 31st May 2018. After submissions made by the ministry of finance observed as follows that the oil subsidy arrears claims were based on three elements namely; subsidy, forex differentials and bank interests,” he said.

“The recent claim is based on one of the identified elements that is the forex differentials. It is pertinent to note that this is that last tranche of payment.

“The committee after due consideration [recommends] that the senate approve the sum of N129.4 billion as final subsidy arrears claim.”

However, he did not disclose the number and names of marketers the sum is to be paid to.

Contributing to the debate on the motion, Yusuf Yusuf, senator representing Taraba central, said until the value of the naira is addressed, there would always be fuel subsidy issues.

“Until we tackle the value of the naira, we will be having subsidy,” Yusuf said.

“The fundamental issue is that the value of the naira needs to be addressed.”

On his part, Victor Umeh, senator representing Anambra central, wondered the next line of action after the sum has been paid.

“What happens after this arrears have been paid?,” Umeh said.

“Last year, it was close to a trillion naira. It is a terrible situation for Nigeria. Why can’t we use what we realise from sale of crude to have functional refineries.”

He said the federal government must find a way of addressing the problem.

Also speaking, Barnabas Gemade, senator representing Benue north-east, said: “If this subsidy does not die, it will end Nigeria.”

The fund was approved after it was put to a voice vote by Ike Ekweremadu, deputy senate president.

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