By Emmanuel Nduka
The President Muhammadu Buhari-led Nigerian Government has disclosed that the subsidy of fuel will last for another 18 months, pending when an amendment in the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) will be forwarded to the National Assembly.
Thus, the implication of this is that the decision to remove subsidy may now be made by a new administration in 2023.
Nigeria’s Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, gave these indications on Tuesday while briefing State House Correspondents in Abuja.
Sylva said President Buhari being aware of the negative implications of total subsidy removal, has graciously approved that the time frame is extended, to allow the government to put necessary palliatives in place.
“His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari has, following engagements with stakeholders, agreed to an extension of the statutory period for the implementation of the removal of subsidy on Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), in line with existing laws.
“The new Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) provides for the unrestricted market pricing for PMS from the effective date. However, the PIA also envisaged the potential for supply disruption with its resultant effect on the economy. Consequently, it provides for a window of six months from the effective date for Government to request the services of NNPC Limited as the supplier of last resort. This is to forestall supply disruptions and guide market readiness preparatory to migration to the deregulated pricing regime.
“With assent by the President on August 16, 2021, the PMS subsidy removal was therefore expected to take place effective February 16, 2022.
“However, following extensive consultations with all key stakeholders within and outside the government, it has been agreed that the implementation period for the removal of the subsidy should be extended.
“This extension will give all the stakeholders time to ensure that the implementation is carried out in a manner that ensures all necessary modalities are in place to cushion the effect of the PMS subsidy removal, in line with prevailing economic realities.
“The President assures that his administration will continue to put in place all necessary measures to protect the livelihoods of all Nigerians, especially the most vulnerable,” the Minister who doubles as Chairman, PIA Implementation Committee, said.