The nation would be diving into serious disaster by taking steps to remove petrol subsidy without building refineries, experts says.
The Federal Government had exluded the subsidy in the 2022 budget, but this does not suggest outright subsidy removal as exemplified by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, oil marketers and experts.
Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria and experts including a professor of Economics at the Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago Iwoye, Ogun State, Sheriffdeen Tella, in separate interviews with The Punch, said it would be disastrous for government to stop the subsidy without functional refineries in the country.
A study of the allocations for the ministries of finance and petroleum resources in the 2022 budget showed that the Federal Government made no provision for petrol subsidy for the coming year.
However, it was learnt that the commodity might still be subsidised in 2022, as the country’s sole importer of petrol, the NNPC, stated that there had been no counter order on subsidy from the Federal Government.
The corporation’s Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division, Garba-Deen Muhammad, in an interview with The PUNCH, confirmed that fuel subsidy would not be stopped until government and labour concluded their talks on the issue.
For more than four years, the NNPC had remained the sole importer of petrol into Nigeria, as other oil marketers stopped importing the commodity due to their inability to access foreign exchange and the occasional fall of the naira against the United States dollar.
Muhammad insisted that until negotiations with labour unions were concluded, the price of the commodity would remain the same, stressing that the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, had earlier stated this.
Muhammad said, “I know that the negotiations are ongoing and the minister, when he spoke, he made it clear that no conclusion would be reached and no decision (on subsidy) will be taken until the negotiations are concluded. That is still the situation.”