The withdrawal of the petroleum subsidy that the government of President Muhammadu Buhari had planned to implement by the end of May has been put on hold by the National Economic Council.
This information was provided to State House reporters during a briefing after an NEC meeting in Abuja that was presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.
The minister of finance, budget, and national planning was Mrs. Zainab Ahmed.
Although the removal of the fuel subsidy is imminent, the council decided that it shouldn’t happen right away.
The council decided that the necessary planning should be done in consultation with the states and other important parties, including members of the new administration.
The council also decided that because the subsidy is not sustainable, it should be eliminated sooner rather than later and that alternatives should be put in place to lessen the effects on everyday people’s lives.
The Petroleum Industry Act and the 2023 budget provided for subsidy till June, hence any delay might require an amendment of the PIA and the budget provision.
Therefore, the council formed an expanded committee to work on the process for the removal of the subsidy, determine the exact time and measures that need to be taken to provide support to the poor and the vulnerable, and to put alternatives in place.
The committee’s work plan will aim to exit the subsidy as of June, but if the determination is that the period is to be extended, it will mean that the country will have to revisit the Appropriation Act and the PIA