President Muhamamdu Buhari has defended the federal government’s decision to keep paying fuel subsidies.
In a response to Bloomberg, the President said the effects of removing fuel subsidies would have been too harsh on the Nigerian people.
He said the government is working on boosting local capacity in order to stem the inflationary pressures that are likely to be triggered by a removal of subsidies.
“Most western countries are today implementing fuel subsidies. Why would we remove ours now?” What is good for the goose is good for the gander!” The President said.
“What our western allies are learning the hard way is what looks good on paper and the human consequences are two different things.
“My government set in motion plans to remove the subsidy late last year. After further consultation with stakeholders, and as events unfolded this year, such a move became increasingly untenable.
“Boosting internal production for refined products shall also help. Capacity is due to step up markedly later this year and next, as private players and modular refineries (Dangote Refinery, BUA Group Refinery, Waltersmith Refinery) come on board.
“The exchange rate is still susceptible to external shocks that can suddenly and severely affect Nigerian citizens. As we step up domestic production – both in fuel (enabled by PIA) and food (agricultural policies) – the inflationary threat shall diminish, and we can move toward unification.”
The President’s comment comes as parts of the country, including commercial nerve centre Lagos, battle an acute shortage of fuel.