The Federal Government is seeking the extension of the implementation of the total removal of subsidy on Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), otherwise known as petrol by another 18 months.
Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, made this disclosure during a press briefing with the State House Correspondents on Tuesday.
Speaking during the special briefing organised by the Presidential Communication Team at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, Sylva said the extension was necessary in other to give all stakeholders time to come up with a solution on how to implement the subsidy removal.
According to the minister, during the timeframe, the FG will ensure all necessary modalities are in place to cushion the effect of the PMS subsidy removal, in line with prevailing economic realities.
He also confirmed that the FG will approach the National Assembly on the amendment of the recently signed Petroleum Industry Act (PIA).
In his words, “We don’t intend to remove subsidies now. That is why I am making this announcement. We also see the legal implication. There is a six-month provision in the PIA that will expire in February and that is why we are coming out to say that before the expiration of this time, as I said earlier, we will engage the legislature.
“We believe that this will go to the legislature, we are applying for amendment of the law so that we would still be within the law.
“We are proposing an 18-month extension but what the National Assembly is going to approve is up to them. We would approve an 18-month extension and then it is up to the National Assembly to look at it and pass the amendment as they see it.
“We are going to see how to rejig the law, this is not going to be the only amendment to the PIA. A few months ago, the President already proposed an amendment to the law.
“Of course not. This is just the human face of the Government and the President. He wants everything to be in place and he insisted that if we want to remove fuel subsidies, we must make sure we put every measure in place to protect Nigerians.
“That is the President’s insistence. We are now taking steps to ensure that these processes are in place. And this entails talking with labour. We are already talking with labour and our discussions are around palliatives and mitigations.”
This comes a day after the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, had announced that the FG has suspended removal of fuel subsidy.
She explained that the government only made provisions for subsidy in the 2022 budget from January to June this year, adding that government will forward a request to the National Assembly to make additional provisions for fuel subsidy from July this year till a time deemed appropriate for its eventual removal.