Nigerian Government Suspends Plan to Remove Fuel Subsidy

The Nigerian government has announced the suspension of its plan to remove the subsidy on petroleum products by the end of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration. The decision was made at the National Economic Council (NEC) meeting presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo at the Presidential Villa in Abuja.

Speaking to reporters at the end of the meeting, the Minister of Finance, Budget, and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, disclosed that the Council had concluded that now is not a favourable time for the action.

She also noted that the NEC agreed to continue discussions on the matter and the necessary preparatory work in conjunction with states and representatives of the incoming administration.

The issue of subsidy removal has been a controversial topic in Nigeria, particularly after the signing of the Petroleum Industry Act in August 2021, which does not create room for subsidy. In January 2022, the Federal Government proposed an 18-month extension to the National Assembly for the implementation of the Act, including the removal of subsidy on Premium Motor Spirit (PMS).

Although the fuel subsidy was expected to be fully removed by June, the current administration agreed to an extension of the statutory period for the implementation of the removal in line with existing laws. However, the NEC has now decided to suspend the planned removal, leaving the decision on the fuel subsidy removal to the incoming administration.

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