Why We Couldn’t Remove Fuel Subsidy – Presidency

The federal government has given reasons for why it is unable to end fuel subsidies.

Why We Couldn't Remove Fuel Subsidy - Presidency
President Mohammadu Buhari

The removal of the gasoline subsidy makes a lot of economic sense, but it has no social justification, according to Femi Adesina, Special Adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari on Media and Publicity.

According to the presidential adviser, the gasoline subsidy had been in place for longer than necessary. He continued by saying that practically all Nigerians now understand that it must stop.

Adesina said this when he appeared on Channels Television on Wednesday.

“Each time there is an effort to fight the fraud in the subsidy regime, you have to contend with labour, you have to contend with the people. The government needed to weigh its options because of the social consequences in it.”

During his campaign for the 2015 presidential election, Buhari questioned the justification for retaining fuel subsidies, calling them a fraud.

However, approximately eight years later, the Buhari administration recently announced that subsidy removal will take effect in June 2023, after he has completed his two terms in office.

Adesina attributed his principal’s inability to remove the subsidy on Premium Motor Spirit, also known as petrol, to economic and social factors.

“In the beginning, his (Buhari’s) position was: what was subsidy really? But over the years it became evident that the country was bleeding, the economy was bleeding, there were a lot of haemorrhages which needed to be stopped and the time came and that time is now,” Adesina said.

Earlier on Wednesday, the Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, revealed during a public presentation and breakdown of the 2023 Appropriation Act in Abuja that fuel subsidy payments will cease by the end of June 2023.

She stated that the government set aside N3.36 trillion naira in the fiscal year 2023 for fuel subsidy payments for the first six months of 2023.

This, she claims, is in line with the 18-month extension announced in early 2022.

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