New Telegraph

Govt should end fuel subsidy, World Bank, Sanusi, el-Rufai reiterate

The World Bank Country Director, Shubham Chaudhuri? a former Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, (CBN) Lamido Sanusi, and the Governor of Kaduna State, Nasir el-Rufai, have reiter- ated their call on the Federal Government to implement the removal of subsidy on petrol. They spoke in Abuja during a panel session at a policy deliberation themed ‘How Nigeria Can Build a Post-Oil Economic Future,’ jointly organised by the Africa Programme of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and Agora Policy.

Chaudhuri said the petrol subsidy was adversely impacting Nigeria’s economy. Sanusi said that fuel subsidy was push- ing Nigeria into ‘bankruptcy, adding that it was unwise for the Federal Government to continue subsidy petrol payments. He said: “In 2011, we tried to explain that it’s bad economics; for every $1 billion Nigeria spends on fuel subsidy, it is $1 billion out of education, $1 billion out of health- care, $1 billion out of power, $1billion out of infrastructure.

“What you (people in support of subsidy) are saying is that for the poor people in this nation, cheap fuel is more important than education, more important than healthcare, more important than power, etc. If you do that for 30, 40 years, what kind of country are you going to have? Which is what we have had.” “As subsidy is, you’ll say if the price is X, we’ll pay 20 per cent of it. That’s a sub- sidy. You will never pay more than X. For a product, whose price I do not control, it doesn’t matter whether the oil price is $200 or $150 a barrel, the Nigerian government has an unlimited pocket, and it will fund the difference. “The exchange rate can move from N150 to N500 and the Nigerian government will fund it (subsidy).

It’s stupidity. You’re heading to bankruptcy. We are walking into bankruptcy with our eyes open.” He added: “We can’t ignore that, and therefore, if I have a new government on May 29 that tells me, ‘Oh, I’m going to continue paying this subsidy for the next three years,’ I’m going to say you’re not serious. “I’m going to just close my eyes and get ready for the next election in 2027 because we’re going to be here in 2027 talking about the same things.

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