The Special Adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina has explained why his principal could not remove fuel subsidy until now even after describing it as a fraud.
“Each time there is an effort to fight the fraud in the subsidy regime, you have to contend with labour, you have to contend with the people. The government needed to weigh its options because of the social consequences in it,” Adesina said Channels Television’s Politics Today on Wednesday.
During his campaigning ahead of the 2015 presidential election, Buhari had questioned the justification behind retaining fuel subsidy and described it as a fraud.
However, about eight years after, the Buhari administration announced recently that subsidy removal will come into effect in June 2023 after he must have completed his two terms in office.
Adesina blamed his principal’s inability to remove subsidy on Premium Motor Spirit also known as petrol on economic and social factors.
“In the beginning, his (Buhari’s) position was: what was subsidy really? But over the years it became evident that the country was bleeding, the economy was bleeding, there was a lot of hemorrhage which needed to be stopped and the time came and that time is now,” Adesina said.
The presidential aide also said that petrol subsidy had stayed longer than required. He added that almost every Nigerian has now come to the realisation that it must come to a stop.
Earlier on Wednesday, the Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, during a public presentation and breakdown of the 2023 Appropriation Act in Abuja disclosed that payment of fuel subsidy will stop by the end of June 2023.
She noted that in the 2023 fiscal period, the government made provisions of N3.36 trillion naira for fuel subsidy payment to cover the first six months of 2023.
This, according to her, is in line with the 18-month extension announced early 2022.