World Bulletin/News Desk
Nigeria's finance ministry said on Friday it would not pay subsidies to fuel importers it was investigating for fraud, listing 21 local firms and pledging not to back down despite union strike threats.
A presidential committee, led by Access Bank chief Aigboje Aig Imoukhuede, is verifying all fuel marketers' claims before the finance ministry pays them any subsidy, it said.
Nigeria is among the top 10 crude oil exporters in the world but due to decades of corruption and mismanagement it has to import most of its refined fuel needs.
A parliamentary probe in April uncovered a $6.8 billion scam in the fuel subsidy administration, one of the biggest corruption scandals in Nigeria's history.
It found that marketers were claiming subsidy for fuel they never delivered or that they sold to the country's neighbouring states.
Unions, which are largely controlled by the companies, threatened to strike unless payments were released.
There were fuel shortages in the capital Abuja this week, as some marketers withheld deliveries, and Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala condemned what she called "blackmail" in a news conference on Thursday.
"It is clear that those behind the strikes are marketers being investigated for possible fraud," a finance ministry statement said on Friday.
"These elements have now resorted to hiding behind the unions to unnecessarily antagonize government and create hardship for Nigerians ... No degree of blackmail will stop the government from doing its work."
Another investigation by a committee President Goodluck Jonathan set up found that fuel traders fraudulently collected 382 billion naira ($2.38 billion) last year in subsidy payments.
In January Jonathan tried to end the fuel subsidy, which economists say is wasteful and corrupt, but a week of strikes and protests over petrol prices forced him to partly reinstate it.
Turkish economy minister says growth will 'most likely' surpass 7 percent in first quarter of 2018
Net profit at the Frankfurt-based group fell 79 percent year-on-year to 120 million euros ($146 million).
BIST 100 index falls by over 2 percent at close, going down some 2,600 points from previous close
Policy rate, also known as one-week repo rate, remains same at 8 percent; lending rate rises 0.75 percent points
BIST 100 increases 0.29 percent; US dollar/Turkish lira exchange rate stands at 4.0850
Local units operating in manufacturing industry work at 77.3 pct capacity in April, says Central Bank
Public sector net borrowing falls by 3.5 billion pounds in 2017-18 financial year, says Office of National Statistics
Indices for service, retail trade, construction sectors fall in current month compared with March: Official data
Data monitoring company IHS Markit also flagged a slight slowdown in France, where strikes were interrupting a resurgent boom on the back of government reforms.
Treasury reports central government debt stock in March rises around 15 pct year-on-year, reaching nearly $235 billion
Sales to foreigners amounted to 1,827, 15.8 pct rise year-on-year, according to official report
BIST 100 slips 0.15 percent; US dollar/Turkish lira exchange rate stands at 4.0460
BIST 100 rises 0.01 percent; US dollar/Turkish lira exchange rate drops to 4.0250
Fresh hopes that Donald Trump and North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un will hold a historic summit within months also provided some much-needed optimism.
The fund cautioned that investors and financial markets expect a steady approach to monetary tightening based on the belief inflation will remain relatively tame.