News

April 6, 2023

Petroleum subsidy: FG secures $800m World Bank fund for palliatives

Petroleum subsidy

Zainab Ahmed

..Palliatives to cover 50m Nigerians

By Johnbosco Agbakwuru

ABUJA-The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, said yesterday that the Federal Government has secured $800m from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (World Bank), to provide post-petroleum subsidy palliatives for over 50 million Nigerians, ahead of June 2023.

The Minister disclosed this while briefing State House correspondents at the end of the weekly Federal Executive Council, FEC, a meeting chaired by President Muhammadu Buhari at the Council Chambers, Presidential Villa, Abuja.

She said the $ 800 million fund formed the first tranche of palliatives ready to be disbursed to 10 million households in form of cash.

“There’s a provision (of the Petroleum Industry Act) that says 18 months after the effectiveness of the PIA that all petroleum products must be deregulated. That 18 month takes us to June 2023.

“Also, when we were working on the 2023 Medium Term Expenditure Framework and the Appropriation Act, we made that provision to enable us to exit fuel subsidy by June 2023.

“We’re on course, we’re having different stakeholder engagements, we’ve secured some funding from the World Bank, that is the first tranche of palliatives that will enable us to give cash transfers to the most vulnerable in our society that have now been registered in a national social register. Today, that register has a list of 10 million households. 10 million households is equivalent to about 50 million Nigerians,” she said.

Asked how much funding the FG received from the World Bank, the Minister said “$800million for the scale up of the National Social Investment Programme at the World Bank. And it’s been secured, it’s ready for disbursement”.

She, however, noted that the federal government must raise more resources to enable it do more than cash transfers.
Ahmed explained that wide-ranging negotiations were underway to deploy non-cash palliatives such as “mass transit” system for workers’ daily commute.

“So there are several things we’re still planning and working on, some we can start executing quickly, some are more medium-term implementation.

“There are a lot of discussions going on at different levels, including with members of the transition committee of the incoming government,’’ the minister said.