Finance Minister Zainab Ahmed yesterday reiterated government’s resolve not to remove fuel subsidy. “There is no plan to remove subsidy now because we have not yet found an alternative package to subsidy. We will not remove subsidy without another social safety net package”
Mrs. Ahmed spoke during a combined briefing with Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Godwin Emefiele and Minister of Budget and National Planning Udoma Udo Udoma on the sidelines of the 2019 IMF/World Bank Spring Meetings in Washington DC.
She made the emphasis against the backdrop of long queues emerging at some filling stations amid the fear that a removal was imminent
“One of the issues that always comes up in the report, especially by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) as a corporate body, is how we handle fuel subsidy.
In principle, the IMF is saying fuel subsidies are better removed, so that you can use the resources for other important sectors. In principle, that is a fact.
But in Nigeria, we don’t have plans to remove fuel subsidy at this time because we have not yet designed buffers that can enable us to remove fuel subsidy and provide cushions for our people. So, there is no plan to remove subsidy. We will be discussing with various groups. If we have to, what are the alternatives? We have not yet found viable alternatives. So, we are not yet at the point of removing fuel subsidy. Therefore, every rumour on plans to remove subsidy should be discarded.”
The minister revealed that part of the takeaways from the Spring Meetings was the discussion of additional financing assistance on climate change and power.
In Emefiele remarks, hope that Nigeria’s economy would lead growth in the African sub-region from the current 1.8 per cent to three per cent, and attain the CBN’s single digit inflation target of between six and nine per cent. significant gains have been recorded in terms of financial inclusion, which today is around 64 per cent, close to the 80 per cent goal by 2020.
He explained, He further allayed the fear of adverse consequences on Nigeria’s economy arising from Brexit discussions. Britain’s trade relationship with Nigeria was not as high as that of China and the United States,
Udoma said that during talks with officials of the International Finance Corporation (IFC), he asked support for Nigeria’s efforts at leveraging private sector capital to fund critical infrastructure.
“We empathise with them (Nigerian workers) and will not turn blind eyes to any further attempt to increase their pains and impoverish them further. It is quite bewildering and baffling that IMF is not considering the pains and agonies Nigerians went through, even to achieve the acknowledged gains of 2018, with almost two-thirds of the world’s hungriest people among Nigerians,” the secretaries said in a statement.
The Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPRA) meanwhile has allayed the panic of Nigerians of any scarcity of fuel.
According to statement by Abdulkadir Saidu, PPRA Executive Secretary the agency insisted the country has adequate deposit of petrol to meet demands.
It added: “PPPRA, in line with its mandate to regulate petroleum products supply and distribution as well as establish an industry data bank, has continued to monitor products supply in the sector in line with best practices.
“Thus, PMS average daily supply for the year 2017, 2018 and 2019 are about 46 million, 54 million and 56 million litres respectively. These indicate an improved level of supply in 2019.
“, there is adequate supply of PMS with over 21 days sufficiency. PPPRA therefore urges fuel consumers across the country to desist from panic buying as the agency would continue to monitor the supply situation and take every step required to ensure that there is no disruption in the supply chain. Based on the accessible data”
Also, the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) vowed it would from today clamp down on petrol dealers hoarding or diverting products in Ekiti State.
“unscrupulous dealers” would not allow to create artificial scarcity in the state over a non-existent anticipation that the official pump price would be increased,The Ekiti command said.
“We are starting the operation on Monday and those sabotaging the system will be arrested and brought to justice. We realised that some petrol dealers have created long queues and artificial scarcity and we ready to address the issue,” Commandant Solomon Iyamu told journalists in Ado Ekiti, the state capital.
He added: “If we get to your petrol station and we find that it has as high as 10,000 litres of petrol in its pits but the dealer is not selling, then he is liable and such person will face the law.
“We learnt from good authorities that a very high number of our petrol stations are now hoarding the product. Some are also selling above N145 per litre. These are issues we will tackle squarely.”
Group Managing Director Maikanti Baru stated this in Enugu at the weekend during the company’s Day at the ongoing 30th Enugu International Trade Fair.
He called on Nigerians to support the corporation in its effort to secure pipelines in the interest of the country.
He stated that in December alone, 257 pipeline-vandalised points were recorded. Ibadan – Ilorin, Mosimi – Ibadan and Atlas Cove – Mosimi network accounted for 90, 69 and 57 compromised points or approximately 34 per cent, 26 per cent and 22 per cent.