Nigeria Newspapers

Economic hardship: FG reserves right to pay fuel subsidy — Presidential aide

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The Special Adviser to the President on Energy, Mrs. Olu Veŕheijen, has said that the Federal Government reserves the right to pay fuel subsidy intermittently to cushion hardship in the country.

Veŕheijen said this while briefing journalists in Abuja on Friday.

Earlier, the International Monetary Fund reported that the Nigerian government brought back petroleum subsidies through the back door.

The fund also said that Nigeria may incur an expenditure of around N7trn (3 per cent of GDP) should the existing fuel pump price cap and electricity subsidy be upheld in 2024.

Also former Minister of State for Defence, Musiliu Obanikoro, reportedly said the Federal Government may be filling the widening gap between the United States’ dollar and Nigeria’s naira in the final price of Premium Motor Spirit also known as petrol and called on the government to be transparent and communicate whether subsidy has returned or not.

While responding to questions about whether the government has returned fuel subsidy according to the IMF claim, the special adviser said that governments across the world intervene at difficult times to address economic hardship by way of subsidy.

Although she did not state in clear terms whether the subsidy has fully returned, she said the government is doing all in its power to maintain the price of fuel to cushion the impact on the citizens.

“The subsidy was removed on May 29. However, the government has the prerogative to maintain price stability to address social unrest. They reserve the right to intervene,” she said.

She added, “If the government feels that it cannot continue to allow prices to fluctuate due to high inflation and exchange rates, the government reserves the right to intervene intermittently and that, does not negate the fact that subsidy has been removed.