FG Denies Suspending The Removal Of Fuel Subsidy
The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, has clarified that the federal government is yet to suspend the removal of petroleum subsidies. She explained that the federal government only expanded the subsidy removal committee to include teams from the incoming administration and the state governors.
Recall that Zainab earlier hinted that the National Economic Council (NEC) advised the government to suspend the planned removal of subsidies on petroleum products by the end of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.
Ahmed who revealed that the development followed deliberations from the council stressed that the removal of subsidies “will require looking at alternatives to the fuel subsidy that needs to be planned for and subsequently put in place. But also what needs to be done to support the people that will be most affected as a result of the removal.”
But in a statement issued by her Special Adviser on Media & Communications, Yunusa Tanko Abdullahi, Zainab stressed that the government did not suspend the removal, but rather expanded the subsidy removal committee to include teams from the incoming administration and the state governors.
Fuel subsidy removal should not be now-NEC
Ahmed said the “Council agreed that the timing of the removal of fuel subsidy should not be now. But that we should continue with all of the preparatory works that need to be done and that this preparatory has to be done in consultation with the states and other key stakeholders, including representatives of the incoming administration.”
She also noted that the government can’t afford fuel subsidies anymore. Ahmed said, we “agreed that the fuel subsidy must be removed earlier rather than later because it is not sustainable. We cannot afford it anymore. But we have to do it in such a way that the impact of the subsidy is, as much as possible, mitigated on the lives of ordinary Nigerians.”
The Minister hinted that there is not enough revenue to buy refined petroleum products. She said, “We have to borrow to buy the products, so, if we take that out, that is over N3 trillion, it’s a significant relief if we do not incur any more than that number that we projected for 2023.”
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