We can’t continue fuel subsidy – FG

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The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, says the fuel subsidy regime is unsustainable in the face of dwindling revenue.

He said that Nigerians must therefore prepare for increment in the pump price of petroleum products soon.

The minister spoke Friday at an award and graduation ceremony for the Offshore Technology Institute, University of Port Harcourt, Rivers State.

He said that the Federal Government was considering scrapping the subsidy on petrol but was concerned about the multiplier effect on food prices.

“It is very unfortunate that if (there is) an increment in fuel pump price, (it) would have an impact on the marketplace and we are not happy about that. The President especially does not want to do it, but the economic realities are staring us in the face.

“Can we continue to support the subsidy, which is not necessarily benefiting the ordinary person, but is benefiting certain individuals who are businessmen in the country? I don’t want to identify the people that are benefiting.

“Subsidy is not directly benefitting Nigerians; the biggest contact with Nigerians is kerosene consumption used by local persons for cooking; as for diesel, it is used to transport food items and so on. But these have been deregulated for a long time now,” Sylva said.

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The minister said that petrol was not the preferred fuel for the common man but has continued to defy regulation.

According to him, the next policy direction would be announced soon, after discussions with stakeholders.

“Right now, we are still in discussion with stakeholders, so we have decided to go on with subsidy for some time, until we are able to conclude our discussions with the stakeholders and announce the policy direction,” Sylva stated.

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