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The federal government has come up once more denouncing any plan to remove fuel subsidy in Nigeria,now and in the nearest future.
The clarification came from the Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, on Sunday at the briefing by the Nigerian delegation on the outcome of their meetings with investors and institutions at the IMF/World Bank meetings in Washington DC.
Mrs Ahmed spoke in reaction to the IMF’s advice to the federal government to remove fuel subsidy, which might have led to panic buying in the country.
Fuel queues have in the past few days suffaced in many parts of Nigeria including the Nigerian capital, Abuja while in some states like Imo,the pump price have suddenly jumped to N150 from the approved N143 and N145.
Though,the state oil company, NNPC,continues to blame the queues on panic buying saying it has enough fuel in circulation to last the country about a month.
Spokesman of NNPC Ndu Ughammadu in a statement issued on Thursday states that the corporation has adequate supply of the product emphasizing that such rumours were “tales fabricated by mischief makers with intent to create undue panic in the prevailing sanity in the fuel supply and distribution matrix across the country”.
The state oil firm through her spokesman reassured Nigerians that it already has stock in excess of one billion litres of petrol, with over two billion litres secured for April through imports of 48 vessels with each having a capacity of 50 million litres of petrol.
The fuel queues are also believed to have been spurred by the rumour of a planned removal of petrol subsidy; a rumour the minister clarified.
“There is no imminent plan to remove subsidy,” The Minister for Finance said.
You may recall the International Monetary Fund(IMF) recently suggested the removal of fuel subsidy by the country as a route to shoring the economy, improving productivity and other sectorial development.
According to the Minister,“IMF said that fuel subsidy is better removed so that we can use the resources for other important sectors.
“In principle, It’s a good suggestion. But in Nigeria, we don’t have any plans to remove fuel subsidy at this time because we have not yet designed buffers that will enable us (to) remove the subsidy and provide cushions for our people.
“So there is no plan to remove fuel subsidy.
“We will be working with various groups to find an alternative if we have to remove it. We are not yet at the point of removing fuel subsidy yet,” she said.
Mrs Ahmed described the outing in Washington DC as a successful one, which provided Nigeria with the opportunity to review developments in the global economy and proffer potential solutions