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FACT CHECK: Is the cost of transport bonus to poor Nigerians higher than fuel subsidy?

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FG announces national summit on integration of artisanal petroleum refinery operations

CLAIM
President Muhammadu Buhari replaces ₦1.8 trillion Fuel Subsidy cost with ₦2.4 trillion for transport bonus.

CONCLUSION

FALSE. Though there are no open source documents that reflect the exact amount the federal government is spending on fuel subsidy, the highest amount spent on fuel subsidy was mentioned by Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, wherein she said the subsidies currently cost ₦250 billion a month, which totals ₦3 trillion every year. And, when compared with the cash handout replacement tagged Transport bonus of ₦5,000 to 40 million, it will cost ₦200 billion a month, equalling ₦2.4 trillion a year.

The claim is, therefore, False.

FULL TEXT

The claim went round on the WhatsApp messaging platform after the Nigerian government announced it would end payment of fuel subsidy, and replacing it with a transport bonus cash handout to 40 million Nigerians.

The full message goes thus;
“GOVERNMENT MAGIC

President Buhari to replace fuel subsidy with N5,000 transport bonus for 40m poor Nigerians. Very kind and humane government.

However, Mathematically;

N5000 x 40M = N200b monthly
N200b x 12 months = N2.4Tr
Annual Subsidy 2021= N1.8Tr
President Buhari replaces N1.8Tr with N2.4Tn

You see why the country is where it is?
Campaign promises are being fulfilled”

Read also: FACT CHECK: Is Lake Chad drying up?

Also, on twitter, many Nigerians have lashed out at the government with many saying the problem is not generating the money but how to spend it.

However, others see it as a means of sustaining the populace to vote for the incumbent party in power.

VERIFICATION

While nether the Federal government nor the state-owned petroleum agency, Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), has a designated platform where it publishes the amount spent on fuel subsidy, research shows that Nigeria spent ₦9.8 trillion between 2006 and 2018 on fuel subsidy, and committed N750 billion as subsidy in 2019. The cost of 2020 subsidy and what has been spent so far in 2021 could not be obtained.

In her speech during the announcement to make clear the replacement of fuel subsidy, Zainad Ahmed made clear that the Nigeria government currently spends ₦250 billion a month on fuel subsidy which totals to ₦3 trillion a year.

The finance minister’s statement on spending ₦3 trillion was also corroborated by El Rufai, the Kaduna state governor.

If the transport cost replacement is compared with the previous data for fuel subsidy, it will be definitely higher. However, with the government spending N3 trillion a year, the replacement is ₦600 billion short.

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