Amid the controversy trailing the planned removal of fuel subsidy, Mr Femi Adesina says the Federal Government did not rescind its decision because of the coming elections.
Adesina, the President’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, stated this on Wednesday in Abuja when he featured as a guest on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily.
“It is a valid thing [to do],” he said of the government’s suspension of the removal, adding, “but is this done because of elections next year? No.”
“It is done because as the minister (of finance) stated, the timing is not auspicious, inflation is still high. In the past eight months, we saw inflation reducing but the last month, it went up again; further consultations need to happen with all the stakeholders.”
READ ALSO: FG Suspended Fuel Subsidy Removal Because Of 2023 Elections, Says Akpata
The Minister of Finance, Budget, and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, had initially announced that the government would only make provision for fuel subsidy in the 2022 budget up till June.
This sparked an outcry from various individuals and groups that accused the government of inflicting more suffering on Nigerians, especially those who were already struggling to make ends meet.
Amid plans by the organised labour to embark on a nationwide protest, Mrs Ahmed announced on Monday that the government would suspend the removal, explaining that to go ahead with the decision at this time would be problematic.
But many, including the President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Olumide Akpata, believe the suspension of the fuel subsidy removal has to do with the coming elections in 2023.
Adesina, in his reaction, said government across the world is always mindful of its actions and decisions in a pre-election year, citing the developments in the United States and their impacts on the country’s poll.
He also debunked claims that the present administration’s proposal to extend the removal of fuel subsidy by 18 months was intended to booby-trap the next president.
“That was not the intention, the intention was also stated – the timing is not right, it will exacerbate the hardship of the people and the President genuinely cares,” the presidential spokesman said.
“Politics is a part of our lives, but elections will just be one event in the life of the country. When elections come, they go, the country continues. This fuel subsidy, whether it stays or goes, is going to have a serious impact on the economy.”