Zainab Ahmed, minister of finance, stated this while speaking during an interview on Channels Television on Thursday.
The minister said: “In making our plans at least in the 2022 budget, we assumed that this deregulation will take effect from July 2022,”
“While the act was passed. The president said there would be a one-year timeframe within which implementation will be made, moving from the status quo to the provisions of PIA.
“We assume that by June we will be able to exit the fuel subsidy, and we have made provision only up till June in the budget for fuel subsidy.
“And it is important that we exit this subsidy. It is costing us a significant amount of resources that we could have applied for education, health and critical infrastructure. It is a major waste and a major drain on the economy.”
Asked if the federal government is prepared for a scenario in which labour unions will reject fuel subsidy removal, the minister said: “What we are doing now is — we’ve been negotiating with labour. We are planning and deploying CNG — which is an alternative to mass transit to PMS,”
“But we are also looking at providing some palliatives for a large number of the population in terms of maybe a transport subsidy for a short period like six months or if it is long, maybe nine months or maximum 12 months.
“Transport subsidy that would be given directly to individuals. What is constraining us is the issue of registration. The national identity registration process is ongoing and we want to make sure that this subsidy goes into the hands of the right people.
“That we can make transfers to people using their BVNs, account number and national identity number, and we know that it has gone to the right people.
“That is part of the things we are negotiating and working on. We are also engaging with the World Bank in designing a programme that will help us to provide succour for at least a minimum of 6 months, maximum of 12 months to enable us to make that transition”.