The Nigerian Presidency Thursday said it has no plans to remove subsidy from petroleum products “in the nearest future”.
Presidential spokesman, Dr. Doyin Okupe, said in a statement in Abuja that President Goodluck Jonathan had in a show of transparency on the issue made sufficient allocation for fuel subsidy in the 2013 national budget.
Dr. Okupe said despite President Jonathan’s recent remark concerning subsidy, there is no cause for alarm on removal of fuel subsidy as the President is mindful of the reactions and plight of Nigerians.
Dr. Okupe explained that Jonathan’s remark at the Economic Summit in Lagos last week was frank, intellectual and well-articulated contribution from a honest and sincere leadership perspective to a discussion on the Nigerian economy
The remark by Jonathan that the removal of the oil subsidy is . fundamental to freeing the economy for greater growth was greeted with condemnation and anger as it was viewed as anti-people and a plot to hike pump price of petroleum products.
But according to Dr. Okupe: “The President and this administration are not insensitive to the plights of the Nigerian masses and will continue to pursue and execute policies and programmes that are in the overall interest of majority of Nigerians and that will bring the greatest good to the greatest number of our teeming population.
“It is an undeniable fact that every responsible leadership, genuine stakeholder and patriot must be worried when a Nation spends about 1 trillion Naira, an equivalent of about 20% of the National Budget, on subsidy paid out to a few companies and enjoyed in the main by very few elites, while the common man benefits only minimally.”
“Contrary to the speculation in the media and assumption by certain groups within the polity, we wish to state categorically that, the removal of oil subsidy is not on the table of the Transformation Agenda of the President.
“Finally, for the avoidance of doubt and at the risk of being repetitive, this administration is not considering the issue of removal of fuel subsidy in the nearest future and certainly will not embark on any such programme without extensive consultations and engagements across the various segments, interests and stakeholders in the Nigerian polity.”