Ahead of the removal of the fuel subsidy, the Federal Government has secured a $800 million World Bank facility for palliative.
Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, disclosed this while fielding questions from reporters after the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting, presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja.
Ahmed said that the money was the first tranche of the palliatives to be disbursed through cash transfers to about 50 million Nigerians, who belong to the most vulnerable category of society.
Her words: “The secondary question on exit of fuel subsidy, this is a commitment in the Petroleum Industry Bill. There’s a provision that says that 18 months after the effectiveness of the PIA, all petroleum products must be deregulated. That 18 months take us to June 2023.
“Also, when we were working on the 2023 Medium Term Expenditure Framework and Appropriation Act, we made that provision to enable us exit fuel subsidy by June 2023. We’re on course, we’re having different stakeholder engagements, we’ve secured some funding from the World Bank, that is the first tranche of palliatives that will enable us give cash transfers to the most vulnerable in our society that have now been registered in a national social register.
“Today that register has a list of 10 million households. 10 million households are equivalent to about 50 million Nigerians.
“But we also have to raise more resources to enable us do more than just the cash transfers and also in our engagements with the various stakeholders.
“So, there are several things that we’re still planning and working on, some we can start executing quickly, some are more medium-term implementation.”
Providing more details, she said the funding was for execution of the planned exit, adding: “The $800 million is for scale-up of the National Social Investment Programme at the World Bank and it’s secured and ready for disbursement.”
On whether the incumbent government has been discussing subsidy removal with the incoming administration, Ahmed said: “There are a lot of discussions going on at different levels, including with members of the transition committee of the incoming government.”