After much controversy, indications are that the Nigerian government will finally remove fuel subsidy 1 April 2012, going by statements credited to the Group Managing Director of the state-run Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mr. Austin Oniwon.
“I think what people should really look out for is that in the 2012 budgetary proposal, there is no provision for subsidy. And if there is no provision for subsidy, it will be illegal for government to implement subsidy. We believe that when the implementation of the budget takes off, deregulation would then take off with it,” the local press Tuesday quoted Mr. Oniwon as saying at a forum on Monday.
The current budget will run through 31 March 2012, while the 2012 budget will be effective 1 April 2012.
Labour unions, professional bodies, opposition parties and prominent individuals are opposed to the removal of the subsidy, which they argue will further impoverish the citizenry.
But the government contends it could no longer shell out the 1.3 trillion naira being spent annually to subsidise fuel imports (US$1=155 Naira).
Nigeria, Africa’s top oil producer, imports refined petroleum products for domestic use because the country’s four refineries are not functioning at full capacity