On Friday, the Federal Government refuted claims that it had put a halt to the elimination of fuel subsidies.
The clarification was made by Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, Minister of Finance, Budget, and National Planning, in a statement that was signed by Yunusa Tanko Abdullahi, her Special Adviser on Media and Communications.
According to media reports on Thursday, the National Economic Council (NEC) had directed the suspension of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration’s plans to remove subsidies.
However, Ahmed clarified that the government had only increased the size of the committee charged with removing subsidies to include delegations from the incoming administration and state governors.
The government has said that it has not suspended the removal of the gasoline subsidy, but rather expanded the subsidy removal committee to include teams from the incoming administration and the state governors. This is in response to a report in some media that the federal government has suspended the removal of the subsidy.
This was announced on Thursday in Abuja by the honorable Minister of Finance, Budget, and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, shortly after the National Economic Council (NEC) meeting, which was presided over by Vice President Prof. Yemi Osinbajo.
The subsidy must be eliminated because it is unsustainable, according to NEC, she said. However, there is a need for additional consultations, particularly the need to include members of the incoming administration and representatives of the State governments.
“We decided to establish an expanded committee to examine the subsidy removal process, including figuring out the precise timing as well as the steps that must be taken to support the underprivileged and vulnerable. Additionally, alternative measures that will be implemented to guarantee that the nation has a sufficient supply of petroleum products must be agreed upon.
According to the Honorable Minister, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited, the downstream and upstream regulators, the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, and the Chief Economic Adviser to the President currently make up the Subsidy Removal Committee.
Mrs. Ahmed claimed that the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) and the Fiscal Framework and Appropriations Act for 2023 both contain provisions requiring the government to stop providing fuel subsidies by June 2023. The committee is tasked with developing a plan for ending the subsidy. By June 2023, no change in the general policy direction regarding the gasoline subsidy is anticipated.