The World Bank has descended heavily on the N2.9 trillion subsidy spending by the Nigerian government, saying that it is depriving states of much needed revenue.
The World Bank Country Director for Nigeria, Shubham Chaudhuri, who spoke on Monday at a panel session during the 27th National Economic Summit, said the country could channel the money being spent on subsidy to primary healthcare, basic education and rural roads.
“This year, Nigeria is on track to spend N2.9tn on PMS subsidy, which is more than it spends on health,” he said.
The World Bank director, while describing Nigeria as a malnourished individual needing urgent treatment, said some critical decisions need to be made now for the country to realise its potential.
“I think the urgency of doing something now is because the time is going in terms of retaining the hope of young Nigerians in the future and potential of Nigeria. The kinds of things that could be done right away – the petrol subsidy; yes, I hear that six months from now, perhaps with the PIA (Petroleum Industry Act) coming into effect, this will go away.
“But the fact is can Nigeria even afford to wait for those six months? And there is a choice: N3tn to PMS subsidy which is depriving states of much-needed revenues to invest in basic services”, Chaudhuri added.
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