Filling stations nationwide have reacted negatively to President Asiwaju Bola Tinubu’s vague statement – “fuel subsidy is gone”, by stockpiling fuel and raising petrol prices.
This development has sparked public anxiety, despite the absence of an official government announcement regarding the implementation of subsidy removal.
The Federal Government in the past had said it plans to remove fuel subsidy in June, while announcing that Nigeria secured an $800 million grant from the World Bank as part of its subsidy palliatives measures ahead of the removal.
However, things are begining to take a new swift after some marketers across the country decided to take advantage of a momentary situation.
Charles Kelechi, a resident of Aba, confirmed to TechEconomy that fuel prices in Aba were being sold at a rate of N660 per liter. He stated that while some fuel stations were selling at excessively high prices, others were closed, instructing motorcyclists and bus drivers to leave.
On Monday night, fuel scarcity was experienced in most areas of Lagos. Akim Sani, a commercial driver, expressed his struggles in obtaining fuel due to the scarcity. He stated, “Even this morning, I am clueless about where to purchase fuel. I am unable to move my car because there is simply no fuel available.”
To address the ongoing concerns, the Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Media Centre has released a statement explaining President Bola Tinubu’s announcement regarding the fuel subsidy removal.
The Centre urges the public to refrain from panic-buying, which has ensued as a result of the speech.
According to the statement, it is important to note that President Tinubu’s declaration of “subsidy is gone” is not a new development or an action taken by his new administration.
He was simply communicating the existing status quo, considering that the previous administration’s budget for fuel subsidy was planned and approved only for the first half of the year.
This means that by the end of June, the Federal Government will no longer have funds to sustain the subsidy regime, leading to its termination.
The statement emphasizes that the panic-buying caused by this announcement is unnecessary and will not take immediate effect.
Furthermore, President Tinubu has outlined his plans to redirect the funds previously allocated to fuel subsidies towards more beneficial investments. These investments will aim to mitigate the effects of subsidy removal on the general public, especially the most economically disadvantaged individuals.
Examples of such investments include public infrastructure, education, healthcare, and job creation, which are expected to significantly improve the lives of millions of Nigerians and enhance their earning potential.
In summary, the statement clarifies that President Tinubu’s remark on the removal of fuel subsidy is not a sudden decision, but rather a result of the previous administration’s budgetary plans.
It also reassures the public that measures will be taken to utilize the redirected funds in ways that will positively impact the population.