July 21, 2024

No time frame for petrol subsidy removal, until we can guarantee 6 months’ sufficiency – Aduda, PS Ministry of Petroleum Resources

Oredola Adeola

The Nigerian Government said that a specific date has not been set for the removal of subsidy on Premium Motor Spirit(PMS) also known as petrol, promising to ensure a minimum of six-month sufficiency before making a decision.

Ambassador Gabriel Aduda, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Petroleum Resources, made this known during a press briefing at the end of the 2023 edition of the Nigerian International Energy Summit, in Abuja on Thursday.

According to him, these are some of the factors that must be addressed and things that must be put in place before a decision can be made about ending the petrol subsidy.

EnergyDay’s check showed that Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, had in a recent statement confirmed that the government would remove the controversial petrol subsidy before the end of President Muhammadu Buhari’s tenure on May 29, 2023.

Aduda said, “I want to confirm to you that President Muhammadu Buhari, who doubles as the Minister of Petroleum Resources, is taking the concerns relating to the removal of subsidy seriously, because he has a clear view of the implications on the Nigerian people.

“We also understand the greater importance of the citizens in the scheme of things. As it is, we are still taking a critical look at how best to achieve subsidy without disrupting the entire ecosystem. This is the responsibility of a serious government.

“We have to ensure that buffers are in place, we have to ensure that forex is available for those who will be importing the petroleum products into the country,” the permanent secretary said.

Amb. Aduda however confirmed that the Government is committed to ensuring the supply of petrol, in large volume, for a minimum of six months ahead, to ensure that disruption that could emerge from the issue of subsidy removal is minimal.

He said, “Yes, the Government is committed to the removal of subsidy, but we can’t be specific until everything is considered to ensure that the impact is not too much on the average Nigerian.”

Earlier, Mr Tunji Oyebanji, Managing Director/CEO 11Plc, urged the government to start making plans to address the social and economic implications of the full removal of the petrol subsidy.

According to him, the Federal Government needs to evolve strategies for subsidy removal, warning that a lesson should have been learnt from the recent currency crisis and its impact on the masses.

He said, “The Government should be deliberate about providing a soft landing for the private sector players operating with the downstream and midstream sectors. Plans must be implemented now to avoid serious confusion after the removal of subsidy.

Oyebanji also complained about the government’s policy inconsistency, with emphasis on how some critical issues were addressed in the downstream sector.

He said, “Sometimes you can’t be too sure of the policy direction of the government. Operators are unsure of what to expect every other day. It is common for the Government to implement policies without consulting the stakeholders.

“The primary role of the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Authority (NMDPRA) should be the provision of the right environment for businesses to grow. The authority should not take steps that would inadvertently lead to discouraging investors from expanding their operations. This is very important in understanding the vision of the government on industry matters,” the former Chairman of the Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigerian (MOMAN) said.