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No decision yet on petrol subsidy -Obaseki

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No decision yet on petrol subsidy -Obaseki

The National Economic Council in Nigeria has stated that deliberations on the issue of subsidy on the premium motor spirit are ongoing and that no decision has been taken on it.

Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State, Southern Nigeria, stated this while briefing State House correspondents on Thursday after the meeting of the Council presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.

Obaseki says the NEC ad-hoc committee headed by Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State, North-West Nigeria, has been working on the issue but insisted that the Council has not taken a decision yet.

“The issue of subsidy has been one matter that NEC has deliberated on for more than a year now.

“There was an ad-hoc committee which was set up by NEC, headed by Gov. El-Rufai that included members of the executive arm of government that worked on recommendations as to what we should do about the cost of PMS locally because as has been told us the cost of PMS in Nigeria today is about N162 for a litre whereas every other country surrounding Nigeria is selling the product at more than 100% of the cost in Nigeria.”

Huge amount

According to Obaseki, the huge amount Nigeria spends on subsidies could have been put on the provision of amenities in the country.

“The country as at last year spent in excess of—we must have the exact figures—but we must have spent almost N2trillion subsidizing petroleum products.

“That is money that could have gone into building roads; money that could have gone into healthcare and education.

“So, for NEC, the argument has been put out: should we continue this regime of spending money that we do not have to subsidize the living standard of mostly those who have vehicles.

“When NEC looked at some of the analysis last year, we then realized that less than 1/3 of the states in this country consume 2/3 of the subsidy.

“So the issue of equity also came up. All of these findings were presented to the NEC and NEC has had deliberations on still ongoing.

“So, NEC has not come up with any decision yet and I think has also been made to the president.”

Governor Abdullahi Sule of Nassarawa State, who was also at the briefing, stated that the Petroleum Industry Act would take care of the issue when it becomes fully operational.

“What you have to understand is that we didn’t make any presentation on this because there has not been a decision.

“But in reality, all of us Nigerians know that there is now in the PIA and the NNPC has now become a limited liability company.

“So, the NNPC will run differently. So, if the Ministry of Finance provides for six months, you probably can understand part of the reason for the provision of six months before NNPC takes off.

“At that moment, that is when the decision will be made, but I want to make the correction that it is not governors who are making the recommendations. “

Sule noted that it is the NEC ad-hoc committee, which comprises other people that looking at the issue. (VON)

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