The President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration on Monday disclosed that there won’t be fuel subsidy removal anytime soon due to perceived difficulties associated with it.
The Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed revealed this during a meeting with the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan and other principal officers of the Senate.
According to Ahmed, the Federal Government initially had plans to remove subsidy in July, after which they made provisions in the 2022 budget to cushion the effect but noted that the timing has become a huge challenge.
She further stated that the decision can not be taken until some steps are taken to protect the interest of Nigerians.
Ahmed 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.”
Lawan in his statement said Nigeria is confronted with the fuel subsidy liabilities but warned against the removal at this time.
The Senate President charged stakeholders in the Petroleum industry to work with the government on decisions that would be made towards the removal of the subsidy.
Lawan said, “Admittedly the burden of subsidy is huge and massive and there is a need to do away with it. It needs the cooperation of all of us. Even though the economy is slowing.
“The issue of removal of subsidy should be done with utmost care and the timing should be such the impact would not deepen our woes and Mr President needs the cooperation of all of us.
“The Minister of Finance is here because she is the one that will provide the money and we must find suitable time and means of getting the issue of removing fuel subsidy finally.
“If we are saying this is not the appropriate time, it should be agreed by all of us so that there won’t be confusion anywhere.
“I appeal to NLC, TUC to shelve the idea of mass protest. It is unnecessary because the removal of fuel subsidy is a necessity.”
In attendance at the meeting were President of the Senate, Dr Ahmad Ibrahim Lawan, Group Managing Director of the Nigeria National Petroleum Limited, Mr Mele Kyari, Minister of Finance, Hajia Zainab Ahmed, Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipreye Sylva and Chief Executive officers of Petroleum Downstream and Upstream sectors.