The Presidency on Wednesday reiterated the total removal of fuel subsidies at some point in the future once the oil sector is completely revamped via the rehabilitation of the refineries which will reduce corruption in the sector.
This stance was disclosed by Femi Adesina, the Special Adviser, Media and Publicity to the President during an interview on Channels TV ‘Sunrise Daily’ monitored by Ripples Nigeria.
Adesina further dismissed fears of unrest as predicted by a former Head of State, General Abdulsalami Abubakar, in the eventuality of the subsidy removal.
According to the Presidential aide, the provisions for the removal has always been in the law but it was eventually ratified by the current administration via the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA).
Consequently, the elimination of the payment of fuel subsidies was a matter of when but President Muhammadu Buhari decided to suspend the mandate due to a lack of the requisite structures to mitigate its effect on the populace, Adesina clarified.
“It has always been there and I listened to General Abdulsalami who warned about protests but he also increased the fuel prices when he was head of state.
“All previous administrations know subsidies have to be removed; the Petroleum Industry Act just ratified it.
“President Muhammadu Buhari will love to do whatever is good for the country and this includes removal with a humane face and he won’t want to do it if it adds to the plight of the people.
“Those who say it is political, who tells them the next administration won’t be an APC Govt ergo, laying booby traps for itself? The Federal Government is a continuum.
“Once the refineries start working, everything will fall in place but something has to happen.
“Contracts have been awarded for Port-Harcourt and Kaduna refineries and as the Minister of State for Petroleum, Timipre Sylva said, the Port-Harcourt Refinery will commence this year with a certain percentage before full working capacity. When the FG makes a promise, it is to fulfill it within the lifespan of such administration.
“I recalled when Ibe Kachikwu was oil minister and he had a timeline regarding the revamp of the sector, this shows you there was a plan but there are other variables because no plan is cast-in-stone but the plans are still there,” Adesina stated.
Adesina also spoke on the recent corruption index published by Transparency International with Nigeria’s drop, scoring 24 out of 100 points.
He dismissed the reports, stating that it did not reflect the Federal Government’s stance and fight against corruption in all facets of the public sector.
“My attitude to reports like that remains the same. We don’t need such reports to validate whatever FG is doing and anti-corruption is one of the core pledges of this administration.
“Would you rather believe the reports about arrests by EFCC or a foreign organization? Corruption is being tackled by this administration.
“Such reports are not an indictment of the administration but of the average Nigerian like you and me.
“There is no country that has succeeded in eliminating corruption as obtains in a country that executes such criminals and continues to execute. The scourge is a problem anywhere that this administration has continued to tackle. Once you are indicted, the judiciary takes over such cases without interference from the executive.
“This administration has done very well with statistics from Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Independent Corrupt Practices Commission, Code of Conduct Bureau to back it up,” the Presidential spokesperson noted.
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