The federal government has disclosed that fuel subsidy will continue for another eighteen months, pending when an amendment in the Petroleum Industry Act will be forwarded to the National Assembly.
The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Mr Timipre Sylva, announced this on Tuesday, January 25, while briefing State House correspondents in Abuja.
Sylva said that President Muhammadu Buhari, aware of the negative implications of total subsidy removal, has graciously approved that the time frame be extended, to allow the government to put necessary palliatives in place.
He said already, the rehabilitation of refineries are ongoing, while Dangote refinery is almost coming on stream.
Sylva said: “We are proposing an 18-month extension but what the National Assembly is going to approve is up to them.
“We would approve an 18-month extension and then it is up to the National Assembly to look at it and pass the amendment as they see it.
“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.”
Sylva, who chairs the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) Implementation Committee, stressed that the decision of the executive arm of government to seek an amendment of the law was not politically motivated.
Rather, he explained that such a move has become necessary to halt the potential suffering of the vulnerable in society.