The National Economic Council, (NEC)says 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 Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zaniab 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 that there was a need for further consultations, especially the need to involve members of the incoming administration and representatives of the State governments.
Mrs. Ahmed explained that the NEC 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 must be continuous engagements and discussion on the issue, and design good preparatory work with the collaboration of State governments and state representatives of the incoming administration, she said.
President Muhammadu Buhari had in October last year assured Nigerians that petrol subsidy would end by 2023, saying it was no longer sustainable in the current fiscal impact.
While presenting the proposed 2023 budget to the National Assembly in Abuja, the President said discontinuing the policy was necessary for the country to manage its limited resources, as there would be alternative provisions to curb the effects of the removal.
The committee will also consider alternative measures that will be put in place to ensure that there is sufficient supply of petroleum products in the country.
The Minister explained that 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 maintained 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.
Writing by Oluwaseyi Ajibade; Editing by Adeniyi Bakare and Tony Okerafor