The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, says Nigeria’s revenue has dropped by 65 per cent hence the decision of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), to discontinue the payment of petrol subsidy.
Ahmed said this on NTA’s ‘Good Morning Nigeria’ programme on Monday which was monitored by our correspondent.
She said if petrol subsidy returns, it would lead to fuel scarcity because the government would not be able to pay marketers.
The minister stated, “What we have been doing is not sustainable. If we bring back fuel subsidy, we will fail because we will not be able to pay it and the problem of disputes with marketers will come back and then we will have queues again.
“We just cannot afford it and therefore this deregulation must be made to work.
“We appeal to Nigerians to understand that in the past when subsidy was done, we could afford to do it but right now, we cannot pay. Remember that right now our revenue has gone down by about 65 per cent. So, it is not business as usual. We cannot do what we used to do anymore.”
She said Nigeria was currently facing difficult times like many other countries around the world.
The minister stated that the price of petrol would henceforth be determined by the price of crude oil.
When asked if subsidy would return if the price of crude oil bounces back to how it was in previous years, Ahmed said it was unlikely that would happen.
She, however, said the decision remains that subsidy would not return.
The minister also conceded that food prices were going up.
This is contrary to claims by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, who said last week that food prices were dropping.
The minister said indeed the prices of food were rising.
She, however, said it was unlikely that the prices of food would rise further because of the increase in the price of petrol, adding that most trucks conveying agricultural produce use diesel and not petrol.