The Federal Government says over N13trn was spent on subsidy payment in 16 years between 2005 and 2021.
The Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, stated this on Monday in Abuja during the launch of the 2022-2026 Strategic Plan of the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI).
He said, “I have carefully studied the NEITI’s policy advisory on fuel subsidy forwarded to my office. I will like to commend NEITI for the in-depth research and outline of options to assist government in making a decision on the subsidy removal debate.
“From that Policy Advisory, over N13trillion (N74Billion) is documented to have been expended on the payment of subsidy between 2005 and 2021. The figure in relative terms is equivalent to Nigeria’s entire budget for health, education, agriculture, and defence in the last five years, and almost the capital expenditure for 10 years between 2011 2020.”
According to the SGF, the figure could have been more in financial terms and opportunity costs to the nation if some cost-cutting measures were not put in place by the government.
He said the government is following the debates around subsidy removal by the citizens, some of which include the need to fix the nation’s refineries and the creation of visible safety net programmes to reduce the impact on the poor and vulnerable in the society especially workers.
“While we remain open to the ongoing debate, a comprehensive position to guide the incoming administration on when and how to make this decision is being developed by the Presidential Transition Council which I currently head.
“I therefore have no doubt that the incoming administration will consider our position on the issue and make an informed decision in the overriding public interest.
“However, I must state that the Buhari administration has done excellently well in managing the subsidy burden in-spite of the complex challenges it has posed to the economy over these years, putting at the forefront of its considerations, the welfare and needs of the average Nigerian,” Mustapha stated.