FG plans supplementary budget as NEC suspends subsidy removal.
The National Economic Council, on Thursday, in Abuja, asked the Federal Government to put the June deadline for petroleum subsidy removal on hold, pending the review of existing plans to provide palliatives for Nigerians.
While arguing that the petrol subsidy should not be removed now, the council said the Federal Government would broaden consultations with state governments and other key stakeholders such as labour unions, petroleum marketers, the Ministry of Finance, Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission and representatives of incoming administration.
This ‘expanded committee’ would “determine if the removal can be done by June as planned,” it said.
The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, disclosed this to State House correspondents shortly after the valedictory NEC meeting presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo at the Council Chambers of the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
She said there might be a need to send a supplementary budget to the National Assembly if the incoming administration aligned with the decision to extend subsidy removal.
According to Ahmed, the Council has however agreed that the subsidy must be “removed now, rather than later,” as the nation cannot afford it anymore.
She noted that the 2023 budget provides for subsidy only up to June 2023. More so, the provisions of the Petroleum Industry Act require the deregulation of several sectors 18 months after the effective date of the subsidy removal.
Therefore, she said the Federal Government had agreed to form an expanded committee to consider the removal process. This includes determining the exact time and the measures to be taken to support the poor and vulnerable and ensure a sufficient supply of petroleum products nationwide.
The minister noted that the nation would now be operating “two laws in the oil sector.”
However, the incoming administration would have to amend both the Appropriation Act and the PIA to bring them at par with current realities, based on their decisions on the fuel subsidy, she explained.
SOURCE: PUNCH NEWSPAPER