Kaduna State Governor, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, has called for the immediate removal of petrol subsidy. He made the call at the “State-of-the-State” session at the recent Nigeria Economic Summit Group (NESG), in Abuja.
He expressed surprise that President Muhammadu Buhari failed to implement the decision, despite the immense fiscal pressure the subsidy had brought on government finances and the corruption associated with it.
According to him, the transparency of the administration of the subsidy, which should have forced the federal government to end the regime before now remains in doubt.
The governor also said the National Economic Council, NEC, envisaged that without removing the subsidy, a time would come when the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited, NNPCL, would say the nation’s entire monthly oil earnings had been spent on subsidy.
He said: “The framers of our constitution envisaged that for the economy to work well, there should be a level of coordination between the federal and state governments.
“That was why the National Economic Council was created, with the Vice President as Chairman. All 36 governors are members and some federal government officials like the Minister of Finance.
“Under this administration, we have met religiously, almost every month, because we have only one economy.
“I think if NEC decisions were faithfully implemented by the national government, some of the current economic issues will not arise – because NGF provided technical support to study this subsidy issue when it started looming and at N800 billion.”
“We projected that if left unchecked, it would lead to trillions of leakage. As pointed out earlier, we are not even sure if these figures are real or just manufactured on paper to take out money.
‘We envisaged at that point that a time would come when the NNPC would come to FAAC and say guys, we need cheque from you to cover for subsidy- not to contribute but to say we are spending more than we are receiving from crude oil. That time has come.
“We took a decision to remove subsidy in September 2021. The Minister of Finance also agreed. We agreed that the money from there should be channelled into health, education and infrastructure.
“Even this ASUU problem, we agreed to provide funding for ASUU. The NEC took that decision but the national government failed to implement that decision. Till today, we do not know why this decision taken in 2021 has not been implemented.”