Reps panel backs IMF, says fuel subsidy outdated

The Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Petroleum (Downstream), Mr Joseph Akinlaja, has expressed his support for the removal of subsidy on Premium Motor Spirit, also known as petrol, as recommended by the International Monetary Fund.
Akinlaja, in a chat with journalists in Abuja on Monday, described fuel subsidy as outdated, stating that farm produce should be subsidised instead.

He decried that the Federal Government had continued to make the payments without appropriation by the National Assembly.

Akinlaja said, “IMF will talk to us in an advisory capacity; they don’t run our government for us. It is the government that is supposed to take the decision. But as somebody who has been in the industry for more than 40 years, I believe that the issue of subsidy for petroleum products is outdated. Nigeria does not have the discipline to operate subsidy in whatever form.

“Subsidy is good for agriculture. I have been in the forefront, for more than 20 years, fighting against removal of subsidy, believing that the Nigerian government or the people responsible will act like America that we copy all the time, it subsidises agriculture. For farmers not to go out of business, if they produce in America, there are agencies to buy the produce from the farmers and preserve them, so that the farmers can produce next year. But here, it is the middlemen who are being subsidised in our Nigerian situation.”

The lawmaker said the amount being spent on subsidy was only known to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation and the Minister of Petroleum Resources.

While President Muhammadu Buhari is the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Dr Ibe Kachikwu is the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources and Chairman of the Board of the NNPC.

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