The Minister of State for Petroleum, Timipre Sylva, says President Muhammadu Buhari is not in support of the removal of subsidy on the Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), popularly known as petrol.
Rather, he explained that the Federal Government planned to complete consultations before coming out with a clear policy direction on the matter.
“I will tell you categorically that at this moment, the complete removal of subsidy is not on our plate at all,” said Sylva during this week’s edition of Channels Television’s Newsnight.
“The President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is not in support of removing subsidy at this time,” he said.
The Minister of Finance, Budget, and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, had in November last year hinted that Nigeria would effect the complete removal of fuel subsidy in June 2022 and replace them with a N5000-a-month transportation grant to the poorest Nigerians.
Amid mixed reactions over the issue, the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, last Tuesday said President Buhari never directed the removal of fuel subsidy.
NOTE: Watch Newsnight on Channels TV at 9pm on Monday.
Sylva, on his part, explained that the President’s position in opposing fuel subsidy was predicated on its effect on citizens at the bottom of the pyramid.
He also identified some of the options the authorities were considering regarding the issue.
“We are working out the processes,” said the minister. “Of course, we all know that it is a desirable policy direction. Of course, we know that it will have some impacts on the people and that is why we are trying to work out some of those things.
“Until those details are worked out properly with (the organised) labour, and with all the stakeholders in the sector, we will not remove the subsidy. At this moment, it is not on our plate, I can tell you that.
“This is something that needs to be worked out between the Federal Government and the states because this is a federation issue. We are working with the governors to see how we can continue with this policy direction of subsidising fuel for the foreseeable future.”