Oil subsidy: FG gets $800m grant from World Bank for palliatives 

Zainab Ahmed 600x375 1

Ahead of the removal of petroleum subsidy set to take off in June this year, the federal government has announced that it has secured $800 million from the World Bank for the provision of palliatives.

The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed,  disclosed this Wednesday to State House correspondents at the end of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting, presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja.

The minister said the $800 million in the first tranche of palliatives is to be disbursed through cash transfers to about 50 million Nigerians, who belong to the most vulnerable category of society.

She said: “The secondary question on the 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 that all petroleum products must be deregulated, that 18 months takes us to June 2023.

“Also, when we were working on the 2023 Medium Term Expenditure Framework and the Appropriation Act, we made thatj provision to enable us to exit fuel subsidies by June 2023. We’re of 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 to 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 is equivalent to about 50 million Nigerians.

“But we also have to raise more resources to enable us to do more than just the cash transfers and also in our engagements with the various stakeholders, the various kinds of tasks that we have gone beyond the requirement of just giving cash transfers. Labour, for example, might be looking for mass transit for its members.

“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.”

Asked how much funding was received from the World Bank for the execution of the planned exit of the subsidy regime, she said: “$800 million for the scale up of the National Social Investment Programme at the World Bank and it’s secure, it’s ready for this disbursement.”

She reiterated the government’s determination to end the subsidy in June, revealing it had engagements with the newly established Presidential Transition Council (PTC) and the incoming administration, with a view to driving the palliative programme.