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Nigerian govt debunks N5.4trn provision for subsidy payments


Special Adviser to the President on Information and Strategy, Bayo Onanuga, has debunked media reports insinuating that the federal government has made provisions of N5.4trillion for fuel subsidy payments, insisting that the era is gone for good.


He cautioned the mainstream media and social media platforms to desist from reporting fiscal policy documents that have not been ractified by the government.


Onanuga lamented that 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,” he noted.


He urged the public and the media to disregard the two documents and cease further discussions on them, stressing that none is an approved official document of the Federal Government of Nigeria.


Quoting the Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Mr Wale Edun, “It is important to understand that policymaking is an iterative process involving multiple drafts and discussions before any document is finalised.


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


“Emanating from the two documents have been reports second-guessing government’s policy on customs tariffs, fuel subsidy and other economic matters.


“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. The fuel subsidy regime has ended. There is no N5.4 trillion being provisioned for it in 2024, as being widely speculated and discussed,” Edun stated.


He said the Coordinating Minister of the Economy had further clarified: “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.


“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.”


He called 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.

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