FG to pause fuel subsidy removal

Oluwanifemi Ojo
Oluwanifemi Ojo
Fuel pump

The National Economic Council announced in Abuja on Thursday that it has reached an agreement not to remove the petrol subsidy planned in June 2023.

According to The Punch, this was disclosed by the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed,
to journalists at the State House shortly after the final Council meeting, which was chaired by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo at the Presidential Villa in Abuja.

Ahmed said the Council reached an agreement that further discussions are necessary and that the Federal Government, along with the states and representatives of the incoming administration, need to undertake more preparatory work on the matter.

In her words, “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.

“Council 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.

“So, this 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.”

Ahmed also stated that the Federal Government will collaborate with state representatives until June 2023.

She mentioned that they have devised a plan to gradually eliminate the petrol subsidy, which they will commence working on by putting necessary measures in place.

“And if I may remind this forum that the budget for 2023 has a provision for fuel subsidy only up to June 2023 and also the Petroleum Industry Act has a provision that requires that all petroleum products must be deregulated 18 months after the effective date of the PMS removal and that that period is also up to June 2020,” the minister stated.

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