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FG to look into gradual removal of fuel subsidy, says Finance Minister

Washington DC – The Minister of Finance, Mrs Zainab Ahmed says the Federal Government will look into gradual removal of fuel subsidy as part of strategy to boost revenue.

fuel subsidy
A man carries jerrycans to search for fuel in Lagos, on May 21, 2015. Long queues formed at petrol stations across oil-rich Nigeria on May 21 following a row over subsidy payment to petrol importers as well as sale of government oil blocks to private investors, union officials said. AFP PHOTO

Ahmed said this on Thursday on the sideline of the IMF/World Bank meetings currently taking place in Washington DC, United States of America.

Ahmed made the disclosure while reacting to the IMF’s advice to Nigeria and other countries who still subsidise fossil fuel to stop doing so.

According to the IMF, fuel subsidy removal would help boost revenue and improve government’s spending to build more hospitals, roads, schools, and to support education and health for the people.

“It’s good advice, but we have to implement it in a way that will be successful as well as sustainable.

“We are not in the position to wake up one night and just remove subsidy. We have to educate the
people, we have to show the Nigerian citizens what the replacement for this subsidy will be.

“So, we have a lot of work to do because subsidy removal has to be gradual and the public has to be well informed,” she said.

Ahmed said that since the IMF/World Bank meetings started, she has had high-level meetings on taxation and discussions on global economy.

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“We spoke on the need to build more fiscal buffers because of the slow down in global economic growth and partly by the natural incidences that are happening around the world like the cyclone in Southern Africa.

“We are discussing between ourselves on how we can better manage our finances and also how we must curtail the increases in our debt.

“For Nigeria, we are asking the World Bank to review some of the initiatives that involves them looking at implementation systems when they are providing funding for infrastructure.

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“We understand that it’s well intended but we have informed them that they need to review its implementation, so that we are not overly slowed down because of the new procedures,” she said. (NAN)

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