Remove Gasoline Subsidies Immediately, El-Rufai Calls

The Governor of Kaduna State, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, has demanded the immediate elimination of the gasoline subsidy.

He made the announcement yesterday during the “State-of-the-State” Nigerian Economic Summit Group NESG in Abuja.

When asked what the government should prioritise, the governor, sitting on a panel during the discussion, responded, “Remove gasoline subsidies immediately.”

El-Rufai revealed that at the National Economic Council, the governors of the 36 states and federal government representatives had agreed to end the subsidy on gasoline in September 2021.

He expressed amazement that President Muhammadu Buhari had not carried out the decision despite the severe fiscal strain the subsidy had placed on the government’s resources and the corruption it had brought about.

He claims that the federal government has not yet been obliged to discontinue the regime because the subsidy’s administration lacks the transparency that would have made it so.

The governor added that the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) would eventually claim that all of the country’s monthly oil earnings had been used for subsidies if the subsidy was not removed. This was something that the National Economic Council (NEC) had anticipated.

He said:  “The framers of our constitution envisaged that for the economy to work well, there should be a level of coordination between the federal and state governments.

“That was why the National Economic Council was created, with the Vice President as Chairman. All 36 governors are members, and some federal government officials like the Minister of Finance.

“Under this administration, we have met religiously, almost every month, because we have only one economy.

“I think if NEC decisions were faithfully implemented by the national government, some of the current economic issues would not arise – because NGF provided technical support to study this subsidy issue when it started looming and at N800 billion.”

“We projected that if left unchecked, it would lead to trillions of leakage.  As pointed out earlier, we are not even sure if these figures are real or just manufactured on paper to take out money.

‘We envisaged at that point that a time would come when the NNPC would come to FAAC and say, guys, we need a cheque from you to cover for subsidy- not to contribute but to say we are spending more than we are receiving from crude oil. That time has come.

“We decided to remove the subsidy in September 2021. The Minister of Finance also agreed. We agreed that the money from there should be channelled into health, education and infrastructure.

“Even with this ASUU problem, we agreed to provide funding for ASUU. The NEC took that decision, but the national government failed to implement that decision.  Till today, we do not know why this decision taken in 2021 has not been implemented.”

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