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Decide on fuel subsidy to reduce inflation – World Bank tells FG

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Solomon Ezeme

 

The World Bank, recently urged the Nigerian Government to be decisive about its talks on fuel subsidy removal as the decision would help determine the fate of the persistent inflation in the country.

World Bank’s Country Director for Nigeria, Shubham Chaudhuri, made this call during a visit to THISDAY NEWSPAPERS in Lagos, on Tuesday.

He charged the government to weigh ‘the opportunity cost of subsidy’ and decide whether or not to cut it off.

Chaudhuri bemoaned the sufferings of Nigerians caused by current inflation in the country, as he stated that an increase in Premium Motor Spirits (PMS) is not enough to eliminate the height of inflation in which Nigeria has found itself.

“Nigeria must bring to the table, the opportunity cost of subsidy and consider whether to remove fuel subsidy or continue to subsidise it.

“Our estimate at World Bank is that up to 10 million Nigerians have fallen into poverty because of the rising inflation in the country.

“Part of the rise in inflation is attributed to lack of jobs, and those that have jobs are lowly paid and their basic needs are rising while their income are not rising.

“The truth is that the increase in Premium Motor Spirits (PMS) will not give the much needed impact to cushion the effect of the rising inflation in the country,” the Director said.

He further noted that monies meant for fuel subsidies ought to first be approved by the National Assembly before they are being disbursed, to check corruption in the system.

“If Nigeria must spend up to 25 per cent of its resources on fuel subsidy, such money could be transferred to the federation account and have it approved by as an expenditure item by the National Assembly.

“This will remove corruption and help the poor to benefit from Nigeria’s rich resources,” he said.

Chaudhuri who was received by the Managing Director of THISDAY, Mr. Eniola Bello, also said Nigeria should ensure its foreign borrowings are for the right reasons.

Bello thanked Chaudhuri and his team for the visit while appealing to the Bank to help in monitoring borrowings by governments of various African nations, in the best interest of their citizens.

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