The Federal Government on Friday, denied reports that it has suspended the removal of fuel subsidy.
Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, made the clarification in a statement signed by Yunusa Tanko Abdullahi, her Special Adviser on Media and Communications.
Media reports on Thursday, said the National Economic Council (NEC), had ordered the suspension of planned removal of subsidy by the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.
But Ahmed, in her clarification, said the government had only expanded the subsidy removal committee to include teams from the incoming administration and the state governors.
The statement reads;
Against the backdrop of the story in some media that the federal government has suspended the removal of petrol subsidy, the government has said that it has not suspended the removal, but has rather expanded the subsidy removal committee to include teams from the incoming administration and the state governors.
The Honourable Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, stated this in Abuja on Thursday, shortly after the National Economic Council (NEC) meeting, chaired by the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo.
She said that NEC deliberated on the issue extensively and came to the conclusion that the subsidy must be removed as it is not sustainable, but there is a need for further consultations, especially the need to involve members of the incoming administration and representatives of the State governments.
We agreed to form an expanded committee that will be looking at the process for the removal of the subsidy, including determining the exact time as well as the measures that need to be taken to provide support to the poor and the vulnerable. There is also the need to agree alternative measures that will be put in place to ensure that there is sufficient supply of petroleum products in the country.
According to the Honourable Minister, the Subsidy Removal Committee currently comprises the Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Ministry of Petroleum Resources, Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited, the downstream and upstream regulators, Central Bank of nigeria (CBN) and the Chief Economic Adviser to the President.
Mrs Ahmed stated that the 2023 Fiscal Framework and Appropriation Act as well as the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) have made the provision that government should exit fuel subsidy by June 2023. The committee is to work out a road map for the removal of the subsidy. No change in the overall policy direction regarding the petrol subsidy is envisaged by June 2023.