The Federal Government is proposing to extend the period for the implementation of the removal of subsidy on Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), popularly known as petrol, by 18 months.
The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Mr Timipre Sylva, announced this on Tuesday while briefing State House correspondents in Abuja.
He disclosed that the government has concluded plans to approach the National Assembly to amend the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA).
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“We are proposing an 18-month extension but what the National Assembly is going to approve is up to them,” the minister said. “We would approve an 18-month extension and then it is up to the National Assembly to look at it and pass the amendment as they see it.
“With assent by the President on August 16, 2021, the PMS subsidy removal was therefore expected to take place effective February 16, 2022. However, following extensive consultations with all key stakeholders within and outside the government, it has been agreed that the implementation period for the removal of the subsidy should be extended.
“This extension will give all the stakeholders time to ensure that the implementation is carried out in a manner that ensures all necessary modalities are in place to cushion the effect of the PMS subsidy removal, in line with prevailing economic realities.
“The President assures that his administration will continue to put in place all necessary measures to protect the livelihoods of all Nigerians, especially the most vulnerable.”
Sylva, who chairs the PIA Implementation Committee, stressed that the decision of the executive arm of government to seek an amendment of the law was not politically motivated.
Rather, he explained that such a move has become necessary to halt the potential suffering of the vulnerable in the society.
The minister believes other measures such as the Dangote refinery, the Port Harcourt refinery, and other modular refineries will have significantly come on stream by the end of the year.
According to him, the new PIA provides for unrestricted market pricing for PMS from the effective date.
Sylva, however, stated that the PIA also envisaged the potential for supply disruption with its resultant effect on the economy.
“Consequently, it provides for a window of six months from the effective date for the government to request the services of NNPC Limited as the supplier of last resort.
“This is to forestall supply disruptions and guide market readiness preparatory to migration to the deregulated pricing regime,” he added.
President Muhammadu Buhari, he stated, has assured Nigerians that his administration would continue to put in place all necessary measures to protect the livelihoods of the citizens, especially the most vulnerable.