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Thursday, September 29, 2022

Subsidy Removal Untenable, Buhari Tells IMF, World Bank

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PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari has dismissed the call by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank and other leading economists to remove subsidy from petroleum products, saying that the argument has increasingly become untenable. 

He made the assertion in an interview published in an international online newspaper, bloomberg.com, where he also defended the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, over his recent attempt to join the presidential race. 

The president wondered why Nigeria would remove subsidy whereas western countries are implementing it. 

He argued: “Most western countries are today implementing fuel subsidies. Why would we remove ours now? What is good for the goose is good for the gander! “What our western allies are learning the hard way is what looks good on paper and the human consequences are two different things. 

“My government set in motion plans to remove the subsidy late last year. After further consultation with stakeholders and as events unfolded this year, such a move became increasingly untenable. Boosting internal production for refined products shall also help. 

“Capacity is due to step up markedly later this year and next, as private players and modular refineries (Dangote Refinery, BUA Group Refinery, Waltersmith Refinery) come on board. 

“The exchange rate is still susceptible to external shocks that can suddenly and severely affect Nigerian citizens. As we step up domestic production – both in fuel (enabled by PIA) and food (agricultural policies) – the inflationary threat shall diminish and we can move toward unification.” 

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