No Going Back On Fuel Subsidy Removal – NNPC
The Group Managing Director of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mene Kyari, has said there is no going back on fuel subsidy removal because Nigeria can no longer afford subsidy.
Kyari spoke with newsmen after a short meeting with the APC National Chairman, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, at the party’s national secretariat on Thursday in Abuja.
President Bola Ahmed Tinubu shortly after his swearing-in last Monday as the 16th President of Nigeria announced the official removal of subsidy on fuel. But the policy is receiving bashing from Nigerians as the cost of living has become high.
The APC National Chairman, Abdullahi Adamu, on Wednesday, said fuel subsidy removal by the federal government had posed a challenging moment to Nigerians and especially those in the states.
But Kyari said subsidy bills have piled up, stressing that the country is not able to settle NNPC for the money it is spending on fuel subsidies.
He, however, said President Tinubu has directed that palliatives be put in place to cushion the effect of the policy on the masses.
The NNPC helmsman said, “There was a subsidy in 2022 but in 2023, not a single naira was provided for the purpose of financing the subsidy. And ultimately, we held back our fiscal obligations, we still have a net balance of over N2.8 trillion that the federation should have given back to the NNPC.
“For any company, when you have negative N2.8 trillion, there is no company in the whole of Africa that will lend to you. You cannot have receivables. The provision of subsidy is there but absolutely there is no funding for it. It means it is only on paper. So, it doesn’t exist.
“It is very obvious that we can no longer afford it. Subsidy bills have piled up. The country is not able to settle NNPC for the money we are spending on the subsidy.
“Therefore, pricing this petroleum at the market is the right ring to do at this time. We believe that this will benefit the overall country in the long run and in the long term. I am aware that Mr President has directed some engagement and some palliatives will be put in place. And I am very sure this will happen.”
‘Decision in line with budget’
Meanwhile, the Senator-elect for Delta Central, Chief Ede Dafinone, has said the removal of fuel subsidy by the federal government is in line with the budget approved by the immediate past president, Muhammadu Buhari.
Speaking with newsmen on Thursday in Abuja on the raging debate, Dafinone asked Nigerians to endure the pains, saying it is temporary.
He said, “The timing of its removal is in adherence to the budget approved by the outgoing administration as the 2023 budget makes no provision for petrol subsidy for the second half of the year.
“President Bola Ahmed Tinubu only emphasised the policy change announced by the past administration. His statement removes the uncertainty on a major component of government expenditure and would no doubt reassure our external creditors.
“I have also heard some people saying the President would have waited for the Dangote Refinery to be fully operational before the removal of the fuel subsidy.
“Whilst I congratulate Alhaji Aliko Dangote for the success of the refinery project, the fact remains that the impact of the Dangote refinery selling its products in the Nigerian market would be marginal in terms of the cost of fuel at the pumps in Nigeria.”