By Levinus Nwabughiogu
ABUJA–President Muhammadu Buhari, Monday in Abuja said that his government may not remove the petroleum subsidy, stating that the reasons so far canvassed for its removal did not sound plausible.
He added that the absence of subsidy will have adverse effect on the poor and jobless Nigerians.
Speaking after receiving a briefing from the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and other agencies in the oil sector, President Buhari said that he will carefully review all the submissions he had received on the need to remove the subsidies.
“I have received many literature on the need to remove subsidies, but much of it has no depth.
“When you touch the price of petroleum products, that has the effect of triggering price rises on transportation, food and rents. That is for those who earn salaries, but there are many who are jobless and will be affected by it,” he said.
According to the president, what impeded transparency in the oil sector may not be the subsidy but lack of security, sabotage, vandalism, corruption and mismanagement.
He however promised to deal decisively with all identified problems of the oil and gas sector.
“We have to go back to the good old days of transparency and accountability,” the President said .
A statement by his Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu stated that “President Buhari directed the NNPC to review existing agreements for the swapping of crude oil for refined products with a view to injecting more honesty and transparency into the process to reduce costs”, even as he also “asked the NNPC management to do more to improve the supply of liquefied petroleum Gas (cooking gas).”