Finance Minister Says FG Will Borrow to Fund Petrol Subsidy

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NIGERIA’s Minister of Finance and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, has revealed plans to fund 2022 petrol subsidy from more local borrowing and a $2.2 billion account raised from a Eurobond sale last year.

Hajiya Zainab Ahmed, Minister of Finance

“Rising oil prices has put us in a very precarious position … because we import refined products … and it means that our subsidy cost is really increasing,” Mrs Ahmed told reuters on the side-lines of an Arab-African conference in Cairo.

President Buhari, who touted subsidy as ‘a scam’ before coming to power in 2015, is preparing to spend $7 billion a year in revenue on the scheme which analysts believe may not be unconnected with the politics of 2023 general elections.

There are concerns that the removal of subsidy will raise transportation costs and worsen the plight of 105 million extremely poor Nigerians, but experts are concerned with lack of transparency in the scheme.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) says Nigeria is not going about the scheme in the right manner, noting that sustaining the regime will likely depend on overdrafts from the Central Bank of Nigeria. The IMF says fuel subsidy impacts Nigeria’s fiscal position negatively and increases the country’s fiscal deficit.

“Certainly, subsidy is not sustainable, which is why there is need to accelerate engagement with relevant stakeholders to come up with a policy transition strategy that is sustainable, realistc and pragmatic,” Economist and the Chief Executive Officer of Centre for Promotion of Private Enterprise (CPPE) Muda Yusuf said.

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