The Minister of State for Petroleum, Timipre Sylva, has said that there is currently no set date for petrol subsidy removal.
Mr Sylva said this on Thursday, adding that the government is being considerate of citizens.
“I cannot give you a date for now. But the Vice President is actually leading the efforts and very soon, we will tell Nigerians what date the removal of subsidy will kick in,” said the minister who was a guest on Channels Television’s Politics Today.
He said the government is also making efforts to put structures in place to cushion the effect of the eventual subsidy removal.
“We must be considerate of our people; you cannot say because you have the muscle, box everybody down in the room. So, what we are saying is that before doing this, we need to put some structures in place so that the impact on the people can be minimized. We are trying to create an alternative that is cheaper and more affordable.
“We also think that there should be some palliatives,” the minister added.
The Minister of Information, Mr Lai Mohammed, has blamed the lingering fuel crisis on what he called the sins of the past administration.
The Minister, who was answering questions from State House correspondents after the Federal Executive Council meeting on Monday, said that the Muhammadu Buhari administration inherited 522 billion naira subsidy arrears which was incurred as far back as August 2014.
He said that the revelation came when the administration went to the National Assembly for a supplementary budget of 674 billion naira out of which 522 billion was for arrears of fuel subsidy.
According to him, the last administration failed to make adequate provision for fuel subsidy.
Mr Lai Mohammed, however, said that the NNPC is gradually importing fuel that will help cushion the effect of fuel shortage.
A former Governor of Lagos State and National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu has advocated the removal of petrol subsidy as a way to address the perennial fuel scarcity in the country.
Mr Tinubu made the pronouncement in Kaduna State as a Guest Speaker at the 10th year memorial anniversary seminar for late Dr Bala Usman on Friday.
He argued that the sustenance subsidy on petroleum products had favoured only the privileged few while the majority of other Nigerians wallow in hunger and poverty, hence the time has come for its removal.
The National Leader of the APC explained that monies saved from subsidy removal could be used to revive the nation’s refineries, reactivate the rail transport system and provide other basic infrastructure for the citizens.
Meanwhile, The Nigerian government had said that contrary to speculations, it is not interested in the removal of subsidy on petroleum products, but rather a price modulation that will reduce its involvement in pricing starting 2016.
The Minister of State for Petroleum, Dr Ibe Kachikwu, briefed reporters of the government’s position on Thursday.
Dr Kachikwu said that a periodical review of the Petroleum Pricing Template and a flexible management of the pricing system would be considered.
He said that the review would allow marketers to trade freely and reflect prevailing international price of crude.
According to him, the review would be the key focus in the first quarter of 2016.
A Court of Appeal in Abuja has thrown out, for want of merit, the application by two members of the House of Representatives, Farouk Lawan and Boniface Emenalo, to dismiss bribery charges against them on grounds of insufficient evidence.
The court, ruling on the separate applications, said that the two lawmakers had cases to answer, as there was sufficient evidence linking them to the charges against them.
The court ordered the lawmakers to face trial at the lower court with an order that the matters be decided expeditiously.
Farouk Lawan and Boniface Emenalo, erstwhile Chairman and Secretary of a House committee, were accused of demanding and collecting $620, 000 bribe from an oil magnate, Femi Otedola, to remove his company from the list of those found wanting during the probe into petrol subsidy fraud.
The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offenses Commission, ICPC, which filed the charges against the lawmakers, said that they violated the provisions of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offenses Commission Act.