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UPDATED: Presidency Rattled Over ‘Edun’s Report On N5.4t Fuel Subsidy’, Says ‘Not Official Document’ As Nigerians Kick

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Fuel Subsidy
Combo photos of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Wale Edun, Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy





Bayo Onanuga, Special Adviser to the President on Information and Strategy, says the claims by the Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Wale Edun, that the Federal Government would spend N5.4 billion on fuel subsidy for 2024 if things remain the way they are, were unofficial and not from the presidency.

In a statement, reacting to the controversy the report had generated, Onanuga said the documents from which stories were sourced had not become official.

In a document making the round, Edun postulated that the Federal Government under the leadership of President Bola Tinubu could pay up to N5.4 trillion as fuel subsidy in 2024, adding that this will be up by N1.8 trillion from the N3.6 trillion paid in 2023 and by N3.4 trillion from N2 trillion paid in 2022.

The report by Edun: “Accelerated Stabilization and Advancement Plan,” comes a year after President Tinubu pronounced fuel subsidy dead.

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It said: “At current rates, expenditure on fuel subsidy is projected to reach N5.4 trillion by the end of 2024.

“This compares unfavourably with N3.6 trillion in 2023 and N2.0 trillion in 2022.”

The report said the government had not reduced “fuel subsidies to zero given the current inflationary and consequent social pressures”.

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It also recommended developing a framework for market-driven pricing of petroleum products and a full fuel subsidy sunset to facilitate growth in the oil sector.

The report gave an indication that the Federal Government may soon approach the National Assembly for a supplementary budget of N6.6 trillion to fund the implementation of the ASAP, designed to advance President Tinubu’s economy-related “8 Priorities”.

According to the document: “Emergency intervention is expected to cost approximately ¦ 6.6 trillion; proposed spending that is currently not in the Full Year 2023 budget. The proposed spend represents 2.1% of Full Year Estimate, FYE 2024 Gross Domestic Product, GDP.

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“The estimated additional spending outlined does not include any fiscal implications from the freeze on the price of PMS Year-to-Date, YTD 2024.

“Approximately 49.0% and 27.0% are targeted at the energy sector and for business support, respectively

“A supplementary budget for N6.6 trillion would need to be in place with the appropriate funding (backed by an approved borrowing plan)

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“At an adjusted spend of 75.0% of the proposed emergency funding requirements; approximately ¦ 5.0 trillion would be required.”

But presidential spokesman, Bayo Onanuga, in a counter statement disowned the report, saying it was unofficial document.

He said: “The attention of the Presidency has been drawn to two fiscal policy documents in circulation that are being given wide coverage by the mainstream media and social media platforms.

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“One of the documents titled Inflation Reduction and Price Stability (Fiscal Policy Measure etc) Order 2024 is being shared as if it were an executive order signed by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

“The other is a 65-page draft document with the title: ‘Accelerated Stabilisation and Advancement Plan (ASAP),’ which contains suggestions on how to improve the Nigerian economy.

“President Tinubu received a copy of the draft on Tuesday.”

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Onanuga said the media and the public should disregard the documents because they are yet to be official approved, adding: “They are all policy proposals that are still subject to reviews at the highest level of government.

“Indeed, one has ‘draft’ clearly written on it.”

He quoted Edun to have said: “It is important to understand that policymaking is an iterative process involving multiple drafts and discussions before any document is finalised.

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“We assure the public that the official position on the documents will be made available after comprehensive reviews and approvals are completed.”

Onanuga then quoted Edun as having addressed one of the issues that emanated from one of the documents: His position that the Federal Government would spend N5.4 billion on fuel subsidy for 2024 if things remain the way they are.

Edun said: “The government wants to restate that its position on fuel subsidy has not changed from what President Bola Ahmed Tinubu declared on 29 May 2023.

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“The fuel subsidy regime has ended.

“There is no N5.4 trillion being provisioned for it in 2024, as being widely speculated and discussed.

“As previously stated by government officials, including myself, President Tinubu announced the end of the fuel subsidy program last year, and this policy remains firmly in place.

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“The Federal Government is committed to mitigating the effects of this removal and easing the cost of living pressures on Nigerians.

“Our strategy focuses on addressing key factors such as food inflation, which is significantly impacted by transport costs. With the implementation of our CNG initiative, which aims to displace high PMS and AGO costs, we expect to further reduce these costs.

“Our commitment to ending unproductive subsidies is steadfast, as is our dedication to supporting our most vulnerable populations.”

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Onanuga added: “We call on the media to always exercise necessary checks and restraints in the use of documents that do not emanate from official channels so that the members of the public are properly informed, guided and educated on government policies and programmes.”

(Additional reporting from The Eagle Online)

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