The Group Chief Executive Officer of the Nigeria National Petroleum Commission Limited, Mele Kyari, said on Thursday the subsidy regime ended in the country in February.
President Bola Tinubu had in his inaugural address shortly after taking the oath of office on Monday declared that “fuel subsidy is gone” in the country.
The president’s declaration had since been met with protests by individuals and groups, including the Labour Party, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) following the return of queues at filling stations and the increase in fuel prices by marketers across the country.
Former President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration had in January announced a plan to stop the payment of fuel subsidy by the end of this month.
It also made provisions of N3.36 trillion to cover payment for fuel subsidy in the first six months of the year in line with the 18-month extension of the arrangement announced in early 2022.
Kyari, who spoke on a Channels Television’s programme, Politics Today, insisted that the Federal Government cannot sustain the subsidy arrangement due to paucity of funds.
He stressed that the law provided that the prices of Premium Motor Spirits (PMS) be sold at normal market prices six months after the enactment of the Petroleum Industry Act.
Kyari also declared that the queues at filling stations would not exceed Saturday.
The NNPCL chief said: “By the provisions of the PIA, the subsidy regime vanished on February 17, 2022. The law states that six months after the enactment of the PIA, petroleum products, particularly PMS must be priced at market rates.
“By law, the subsidy regime is gone by February 17, 2022. But of course, the government can always decide to spend on its citizens, in the manner that it wants. There are subsidies on bread, fertiliser, and other things over the world.
“But the government in its wisdom, decided that there would be an appropriation for subsidy in 2022, and also made provision for subsidy till the second half of 2023. That means that provision is made, but the law still applies in the market.
“Let me make this clear, I do not see the queues at filling stations across the country staying beyond Saturday. The key problem with the PMS system is supply, so I have supplied it. There are over 810 million litres of PMS, or petrol in depots and in towns and fuel stations across the country.”
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