Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva says Federal Government has ruled out the planned removal of fuel subsidy for now.
Chief Sylva made the disclosure on Monday at a meeting of stakeholders in the oil and gas sector at the instance of Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, at the National Assembly complex in Abuja.
Chief Sylva said the timing of the removal of fuel subsidy was inappropriate.
He expressed the view that the only option was for the National Assembly to revisit the Appropriation Act, with a view to amending the legislation to provide for subsidy beyond June, 2022.
Responding, Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, recounted what he cited as some of the highlights of his meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari on the possible removal of petroleum subsidy.
He said the present administration believed the issue of removal of subsidy should be handled with utmost care, and stressed that sufficient planning needed to be done to provide necessary palliatives for Nigerians
Senator Lawan also stressed that the shelving of fuel subsidy removal was not due to the planned protest by Labour unions, but rather in the interest of ordinary Nigerians and.
He appealed to organised Labour to shelve their planned protest.
In her own remarks, the Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed said the government had to reconsider its decision on the planned removal of fuel subsidy after the 2022 budget was passed by the National Assembly.
Fuel subsidy was provided for in the 2022 budget to run from January till June, but after consultations with stakeholders and in view of the high inflation and economic hardship, additional provisions would be made beyond the initial period, Mrs Ahmed explained.
Initially, the government had suggested the fuel subsidy scheme, a move supported by the World Bank, with a cash transfer scheme proposed in its place.
But the move generated several reactions in many quarters, including from the Senate President and elder statesman, Abdulsalami Abubakar, both of whom rejected the idea.