The Federal Government has given conditions for the removal of fuel subsidy on premium motor spirit (also known as fuel), just as the Nations fuel shortage worsened over the weekend.
The conditions include provision of alternative cushioning measures mutually agreed between stakeholders to protect the economically vulnerable members of the population.
This came as Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, NUPENG and its Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, PENGASSAN, weekend, lampooned the International Monetary Fund, IMF, and blame the organisation’s call for total subsidy removal for the resurgence of petrol scarcity across the country.
Investigation showed the queues in the filling stations across the country doubled after the government signalled that it would undertake a gradual removal of fuel subsidy a waiver that the World Bank said cost Nigeria a whooping N731 billion in 2018.
Magic FM correspondents report that long queues emerged at filling stations in Ekiti, Ebonyi, Enugu and Portharcout.
In Aba, Abia state there were pockets of panic buying as many filling stations in the city upgraded their pump price from the official N145 per litre to around N150 to N170.
Meanwhile, the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency, PPPRA, yesterday, advised motorists to desist from panic buying, stating that there is currently enough quantity of the commodity to last the country 21 days.
In a statement in Abuja, Executive Secretary of PPPRA, Alhaji Abdulkadir Saidu, disclosed that the agency would continually monitor the supply of the commodity to forestall a disruption in the system.
He said: “The Agency has observed the sudden re-appearance of queues at some filling stations over speculation of short fall in the supply of Premium Motor Spirit, PMS.”
However, Finance Minister, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, at a briefing to mark the end of the 2019 Spring Meetings of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, IMF, in Washington DC, USA, yesterday, said: “There is no imminent plan to remove fuel subsidy.
We are here to discuss with the global community on various policy issues.
“One of the issues that always come up in the report, especially by the IMF as a corporate body is how we handle fuel subsidies. IMF is saying fuel subsidies are better removed so that you can use the resources for other important sectors.
“In principle that is a fact. But in Nigeria, we don’t have plans to remove fuel subsidy at this time because we have not yet designed buffers that can enable us remove fuel subsidy and provide cushions for our people. So there is no plan to remove fuel subsidy.
“We will be discussing with various groups. If we have to, what are the alternatives? We have not yet found viable alternatives. So we are not yet at the point of removing fuel subsidy.”