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El-Rufai claims Tinubu govt has paid trillions on fuel subsidy since inception



Former Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai, has ignited debate on fuel subsidies, with allegations that the federal government, under President Bola Tinubu, has spent trillions of naira subsidizing petrol (PMS) since taking office in May 2023.

This revelation comes amidst ongoing discussions about fuel subsidies in Nigeria. The government previously announced a removal of fuel subsidies, leading to a rise in pump prices. However, El-Rufai suggests the effort was unsuccessful, forcing a return to subsidies at a reportedly higher cost.

The former Kaduna state governor spoke on Monday in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital while delivering a Lead Paper at the occasion of Capacity Building Workshop on Enhancing Skills of Government Officials in Policy Implementation

“The present administration,” El-Rufai said, “has so far spent trillions of naira for subsidy,” even exceeding pre-removal levels, ha stated.

He claimed the current price of petrol, between ₦600 and ₦750 per litre, is artificially low due to the subsidy. Without it, prices could be closer to those of diesel, which currently exceed ₦1,000 per litre in some areas.

“But as I also said earlier during my presentation, the removal of fuel subsidy by the present administration is another good policy by President Tinubu. I have always supported withdrawal of fuel subsidy.

“But as you can see, in the course of implementation, the government has now realized that the subsidy has to be back, because right now, we are paying a lot of money amounting to trillions of naira for subsidy even more than before, because the impact has been seen and the packages of support that will reduce the impact have not been effective in reducing the impact, and so, the federal government has to backpedal by subsidizing petrol.

“Many people don’t know this. If they want to know whether there is fuel subsidy or not, they should compare the prices of petrol and diesel per litre. This is because, under normal circumstances, petrol suppose to be more expensive than diesel. As it is, diesel is above N1000, while petrol stood at about N600 per litre. So we are still subsidizing for fuel in Nigeria,” he stated.

El-Rufai’s comments raise questions about the effectiveness and sustainability of fuel subsidies in Nigeria. The high cost highlighted by El-Rufai suggests the program may be straining government resources. It remains to be seen how the Tinubu administration will address this issue and whether they plan to revisit subsidy removal attempts.

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