The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has said he would need to consult with relevant agencies to know the exact position of government on whether or not fuel subsidy would be stopped this year.
Mohammed, who spoke with newsmen after the weekly virtual Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo at the State House, Abuja, explained that he was going to initiate a fact-finding process to determine the state of things on the removal of petroleum subsidy following Tuesday’s announcement by Senate President, Dr Ahmad Lawan, that President Muhammadu Buhari had not told anyone to remove fuel subsidy.
When asked to clarify the issue since the 2022 budget had no subsidy provision beyond June, 2022, the minister said he needed to consult with the relevant government agencies to determine the exact position of the subsidy removal question.
“As for the removal of fuel subsidy, I think you will give me time to consult with relevant departments and ministries and I will get back to you,” the minister.
Last October, the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, had announced that the federal government made provision for petrol subsidy only for the first six months of 2022 as the government looked towards a complete deregulation of the sector.
She had said: “In our 2022 budget, we only factored in subsidy for the first half of the year; the second half of the year, we are looking at complete deregulation of the sector, saving foreign exchange and potentially earning more from the oil and gas industry.”
Reacting to Ahmed’s position after meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the State House, Abuja on Tuesday, Lawan had told newsmen that Buhari had not directed anyone in his government to implement the removal of petroleum subsidy,
But he had also conceded that subsidy was a big burden, noting that a solution had to be found to it.
He said: “Well, it will be of interest to Nigerians to hear what I’ve come to discuss with Mr. President among several other things. Many of us are very concerned with the recent agitations, protests, and many citizens were so concerned, our constituents across the country are very concerned that the federal government will remove the petroleum subsidy. And for us, as parliamentarians, as legislators representing the people of Nigeria, this must be of interest to us.”
Culled from THISDAY