The Nigerian Government has said that there won’t be any removal of fuel subsidy anytime soon as a result of perceived difficulties associated with it.
Minister of Finance, Hajia Zainab Ahmed, disclosed this at an interactive meeting with the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, and other principal officers of the Senate.
The Finance Minister’s disclosure followed concerns raised by the Senate President, who pointed out that there should be caution in the event of subsidy removal so as not to deepen the economic hardships on Nigerians.
Lawan said he visited President Muhammadu Buhari over plans to remove fuel subsidy and so many factors were taken into consideration but with a view to ensuring that citizens were not at the receiving end.
The minister said her ministry consulted widely and discovered that the Federal Government cannot go ahead with the removal plans until some steps were taken to protect the interest of Nigerians.
She said, “Let me start by stating that we did make a provision in 2022 budget and which means that there will be fuel subsidy from July.
“After consultations with various stakeholders, it became apparent that the timing became a big problem and Mr President didn’t want that. We are looking at various means either putting our four refineries in order and allowing Dangote Refinery to come on stream.
“It means that we shall submit supplementary budget from July going forward.”
In October, the minister said the Nigerian Government would only cater for subsidies on petrol in the first six months of 2022.
“In our 2022 budget, we only factored in subsidies for the first half of the year; the second half of the year, we are looking at complete deregulation of the sector, saving foreign exchange and potentially earning more from the oil and gas industry,” Ahmed had said.
She had said government would provide a N5,000 transportation grant to poor Nigerians to cushion the effects of subsidy removal.