The nuclear hit preparation by the Labour Unions against the federal government is set to stand down as FG suspended the petrol subsidy removal till further notice. Zainab Ahmed, minister of finance, budget, national planning, announced on Monday, January 24, after a meeting with the president of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan in Abuja that the subsidy removal was postponed due to high inflation and economic hardship it will inflict on the country. Amed the finance minister also opened up the next preparations the government will be taking regarding the suspension of its former intention to terminate the subsidy.
Plan to remove subsidy reconsidered Ahmed said at the meeting that the government had to reconsider its decision after the 2022 budget was passed.
According to the finance minister, petrol subsidy was provided for in the 2022 budget to run from January till June. She, however, said that after consultations with stakeholders, additional provisions would be made beyond the initial period. She further noted that the timing for the removal of petrol subsidies will be problematic as the country still experiences heightened inflation.
“Provision was made in the 2022 budget for subsidy payment from January till June. That suggested that from July, there would be no subsidy,” Ahmed said.
”The provision was made a sequel to the passage of the Petroleum Industry Act, which indicated that all petroleum products would be deregulated.
“Sequel to the passage of the PIA, we went back to amend the fiscal framework to incorporate the subsidy removal. “However, after the budget was passed, we had consultations with a number of stakeholders, and it became clear that the timing was problematic. “We discovered that practically, there is still heightened inflation and that the removal of subsidy would further worsen the situation and impose more difficulties on the citizenry.”
Buhari does not want to impose more difficulties on Nigerians – Ahmed Ahmed said President Muhammadu Buhari does not want to impose more difficulties on Nigerians by removing the subsidy. She continued: “What we are now doing is to continue with the ongoing discussions and consultations in terms of putting in place a number of measures. “One of these include the roll-out of the refining capacities of the existing refineries and the new ones, which would reduce the number of products that would be imported into the country.
“We, therefore, need to return to the National Assembly to now amend the budget and make additional provision for the subsidy from July 2022 to whatever period that we agreed was suitable for the commencement of the total removal.” Also speaking, Lawan appealed to the leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) to shelve their planned industrial action over subsidy removal as it has become unnecessary.
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