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Nigerian govt to replace fuel subsidy with N5,000 transport grant for poor citizens —Zainab Ahmed

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The minister of finance, budget and national planning, Zainab Ahmed, has put a price on the amount Nigerians will receive as transport allowance after the removal of fuel subsidy.

The minister said 30 to 40 million poor and vulnerable Nigerians will receive N5000 monthly stipend. This comes after Ripples Nigeria reported the Federal Government was considering compensation in place of subsidy last week.

Ahmed made the disclosure during the launch of the World Bank Nigeria Development Update (NDU) on Tuesday, where she explained that the actual number will be determined by available resources upon removal of the subsidy.

Subsidy payment by the Federal Government has come under criticism every year from the private sector and global financial bodies like the World Bank, as Nigeria spends as much as N2.9 trillion to subsidies fuel price and cushion the impact of cost on people.

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The federal government hopes to remove the subsidy by June 2022, as Ahmed said, “The subsidies regime in the [oil] sector remains unsustainable and economically disingenuous.”

She further stated, “Ahead of the target date of mid-2022 for the complete elimination of fuel subsidies, we are working with our partners on measures to cushion potential negative impact of the removal of the subsidies on the most vulnerable at the bottom 40% of the population.

“One of such measures would be to institute a monthly transport subsidy in the form of cash transfer of N5,000 to between 30 – 40 million deserving Nigerians.”

Ahmed reiterated the government’s plan to utilise the funds spent on subsidy to improve the lives of the poor and vulnerable population in the country.

“I agree with the Report that with the expansion of social protection policies during the pandemic, the government has an opportunity to phase out subsidies such as the PMS subsidy while utilizing cash transfers to safeguard the welfare of poor and middle-class households.”

Part of her remarks included the minister being optimistic about, “the recent developments in the oil sector, such as the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) 2021, hopefully, the full reactivation of the 4 public refineries in the country, and the completion and coming on stream of the 3 private refineries under construction in 2022, would significantly boost contribution from the sector to our economic growth efforts.”

By Fakoyejo Olalekan & Ijeoma Ilekanachi

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