By Ajuma Edwina Ameh
Citing reasons of high inflation and economic hardships in the country, the Federal Government on Monday announced the suspension of the planned petrol subsidy removal indefinitely.
In the interim, it also revealed plans to make additional provisions for petrol subsidy in the 2022 budget.
The Minister of Finance, Budget, and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, who disclosed this at a meeting with the President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, at the National Assembly Complex in Abuja, explained that the government had to reconsider its decision on the planned removal of the subsidy after the 2022 budget was passed by the National Assembly.
Amid the controversy over the subsidy removal, the President of the Senate had convened the meeting attended by the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, and representatives of oil companies.
According to the finance minister, fuel subsidy is provided for in the 2022 budget to run from January till June, but after consultations with stakeholders and in view of the high inflation and economic hardships, additional provisions will be made beyond the initial period.
“It has become clear that the timing for the removal of fuel subsidy will be problematic as the country still experiences high inflation.
“Removing fuel subsidy at this period would ultimately worsen the condition of Nigerians, especially those struggling to make ends meet,’’ she said.
On his part, the Minister of State for Petroleum, who had earlier disclosed that President Muhammadu Buhari is not in support of the removal of the subsidy, stressed that the removal at this period is bad timing, politically and economically.
According to Sylva, why the federal government is not thinking about removing fuel subsidy is because of the impact it will have on Nigerians.
In his remark, the Senate President appealed to the leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) to shelve their planned industrial action over subsidy removal as it has become unnecessary.
Persecondnews recalls that NLC had fixed January 27 for its protest across the 36 states and a grand protest in Abuja over the planned fuel subsidy removal.