FLASH | Buhari Moves to Remove Fuel Subsidy, Begins Consultation With NASS
Barring any last minute changes, President Muhammadu Buhari will within the next few days officially announce the removal of subsidies in prices of petroleum products, SIGNAL can authoritatively report.
Presidency sources informed about the development told SIGNAL on Saturday that President Buhari has already started consultation with the leadership of the National Assembly and key Labour leaders before the official announcement.
According to the source, “President Buhari has come to terms with the economic challenges associated with government subsidy for petroleum products. The current economic situation of the country, has made it even more imperative to remove subsidy, because it is not sustainable.”
It will be recalled that in July 2015, President Buhari dismissed calls for his government to remove fuel subsidy. According to him, “I have received many literature on the need to remove subsidies, but much of it has no depth”.
“When you touch the price of petroleum products, that has the effect of triggering price rises on transportation, food and rents. That is for those who earn salaries, but there are many who are jobless and will be affected by it,” President Buhari said.
President Buhari also said that the lack of security, sabotage, vandalism, corruption and mismanagement, not necessarily subsidies, are the most serious problems of Nigeria’s oil sector.
He then promised to deal decisively with all identified problems of the oil and gas sector.
In December 2015, the World Bank advised President Buhari to act immediately if he is seriously considering the removal of fuel subsidy, as the best time to act would be at a time that global crude oil price was at its lowest level. But instead of fuel subsidy removal, the Minister of State for Petroleum, Ibe Kachukwu announced what he described as price modulation.
“Like I said, we have done a modulation calculation and it is showing us below N87. I imagine that if PPPRA publishes it today, it will become effective immediately. But the 1st of January that is when we are looking at. What that does for you is that it’s modulating. If it goes up you move up, if it comes down you come down,” Kachikwu said.
Attempts by former President Jonathan to remove petroleum subsidy in 2012 led to one of the largest mass protests in the country’s history.
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