The National Economic Council, on Thursday, in Abuja, said it has agreed that petrol subsidy should “not be removed” as earlier planned for June 2023.
The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, disclosed this to State House correspondents shortly after the valedictory Council meeting presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo at the Council Chambers of the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Ahmed said the Council agreed on the need for continued discussions on the issue adding that the FG, together with states and representatives of the incoming administration, require more preparatory work.
She said, “Council agreed that the timing of the removal of fuel subsidy should not be now. But that we should continue with all of the preparatory works that need to be done and that this preparatory has to be done in consultation with the states and other key stakeholders including representatives of the incoming administration.
“Council agreed that the fuel subsidy must be removed earlier rather than later because it is not sustainable. We cannot afford it anymore. But we have to do it in such a way that the impact of the subsidy is as much as possible, mitigated on the lives of ordinary Nigerians.
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“So, this will require looking at alternatives to the fuel subsidy that needs to be planned for and subsequently put in place. But also what needs to be done to support the people that will be most affected as a result of the removal.”
Ahmed added that the FG will be working together with representatives of the states between now and June 2023.
“We have a plan that we will start working on, putting the building blocks towards the eventual removal of the first subsidy.
“And if I may remind this forum that the budget for 2023 has a provision for fuel subsidy only up to June 2023 and also the Petroleum Industry Act has a provision that requires that all petroleum products must be deregulated 18 months after the effective date of the PMS removal and that that period is also up to June 2020,” the minister explained.