Sunday, March 3, 2024

We’re delaying fuel subsidy removal because of 2023 election: Buhari regime

Mrs Ahmed said the federal government has gradually removed electricity subsidy and it is working a budget to phase out fuel subsidy regime.

• March 12, 2022
Zainab-Ahmed
Nigerian minister of finance, Zainab-Ahmed (Credit: Business Day)

The Muhammadu Buhari regime says it stood down the planned removal of fuel subsidy due to pushback from citizens and to avoid consequences in the 2023 general elections. 

Finance minister Zainab Ahmed disclosed this at the second nd day of a virtual meeting of African finance ministers and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Thursday.

“We are cleaning up our subsidies. We had a setback, we were to remove fuel subsidy by July this year but there was a lot of push back from the polity,” Mrs Ahmed said. “We have elections coming and also because of the hardship that companies and citizens went through during the COVID-19 pandemic, we just felt that the time was not right, so we pulled back on that.”

Mrs Ahmed said the federal government has gradually removed electricity subsidy and it is working a budget to phase out fuel subsidy regime. 
“Fuel subsidy is a huge problem for us. It has thrown up our deficits too much higher than we planned,” Mrs Ahmed said. “We are currently doing a budget amendment to accommodate incremental subsidy (removal) as a result of the reversal of the decision and we want to cap it at that. 

“Hopefully, the parliament will agree with us and we are able to continue with our plan for subsidy (removal) otherwise the way things are going we will not be able to predict where we will be,” she added.

In January, the Buhari regime said it would enforce complete fuel subsidy removal in July, promising to provide Nigerians with N5,000 transport allowance to cushion the economic aftereffects.

However, with citizens threatening nationwide protest and Nigerian Labour Congress vowing to shut down the country should fuel subsidy be removed, Abuja chickened out, announcing the postponement of the policy. 

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