Zainab Ahmed, the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, has insisted that the government will not change its position on the removal of fuel subsidy.
GoldenNewsNg reports that Ahmed maintained that the Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government will do away with petroleum subsidy by June 2023, according to NAN.
The Minister stated this on Tuesday in Abuja during a press conference to mark the end of the 28th National Economic Summit.
While fuel subsidy gulped N2.565tn between January and August 2022, the Federal Government proposed to spend N3.3tn on fuel subsidy between January and June 2023 in the Medium-Term Expenditure Framework.
Speaking, Ahmed said the removal of fuel subsidy is part of the FG’s medium-term plan in the budget, adding that the challenge now was how to go about removing the subsidy.
She said: “First, we have to engage. We have already engaged with the states and the public before it was approved as part of the medium-term plan.
“We have to do it by systematically informing the citizens about the size and the quantum of the fuel subsidy.
“We also have to educate them about the opportunity cost of what we are unable to do because of the fuel subsidy.”
According to the minister, the fuel subsidy, in addition to budget deficit, is putting enormous pressure on the “fiscals”.
“It is not money that we have; it is money that we have to borrow to maintain the fuel subsidy.
“Some countries introduced subsidy during the COVID-19, and because of the Russia-Ukraine conflict, but they are using their money to fund such subsidy.
“In our case, we are borrowing to pay the subsidy; that is double jeopardy. It is something that has to stop.
“We are glad that majority of people in decision-making positions, including the political parties, have agreed that subsidy is not sustainable.
”The plan is, by June 2023, we must have completely exited subsidy, and it has to be a gradual process,” she said.
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