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After suspending fuel subsidy removal, FG plots supplementary budget

The Federal Government of Nigeria has suspended the planned removal of fuel subsidy due to public outcry, with the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, stating that the move requires looking at alternatives to fuel subsidy that need to be planned for and put in place. Ahmed also mentioned the need to reduce the impact of the removal of the subsidy. This decision by the government has received mixed reactions from various stakeholders.


The Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) has commended the Federal Government for the 40% salary increase for civil workers in the country. The NLC stated that this salary increase is in recognition of the extent to which the government’s policies over the last two years have caused hyperinflation in the country and deeply eroded the real wages of Nigerian workers. However, the NLC also warned state council members to stop covering up state governors committing atrocities against workers in their states.


While some experts like Dr. Ikenna Nwosu, a facilitator with the Nigeria Economic Summit Group, said that the suspension of the subsidy removal would continue to fuel inflation, others like the Director-General of the Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association, Mr. Wale Oyerinde, urged the government to use the period of the suspension to complete the turnaround maintenance of the Port Harcourt refinery. Oyerinde suggested that while the removal of the subsidy is highly desirable, the social and economic impact on Nigerians cannot be overlooked.


The Deputy-President of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Gabriel Idahosa, criticized the Federal Government for lacking the political will to end fuel subsidy for the betterment of Nigerians, while the President of the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines, and Agriculture, John Udeagbala, noted that while the chamber is not against the removal of fuel subsidy, it is concerned about the impacts of the subsidy removal on businesses which are already burdened with so much economic pressures and difficulties, leading to the shutdown of many small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and more unemployment in the country.


Lastly, a Professor of Economics at the University of Uyo, Akpan Ekpo, stated that the decision to stop fuel subsidy was not carefully thought out and was going to inflict unprecedented hardship on suffering Nigerians. He suggested that the refineries should start working before the removal of the subsidy is carried out or sold off if they cannot be fixed.


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