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FG opens up on leaked fiscal policy documents

The Presidency has said two leaked fiscal policy documents in circulation being given wide coverage by the mainstream media and social media platforms were not official.

Mr Bayo Onanuga, Special Adviser to the President on Information and Strategy, said this in a statement in Abuja on Thursday.

He said one of the documents titled: “Inflation Reduction and Price Stability (Fiscal Policy Measure etc) Order 2024” was being shared as if it was an executive order signed by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

According to him, the second one is a 65-page draft document with the title, “Accelerated Stabilisation and Advancement Plan (ASAP), which contains suggestions on how to improve the Nigerian economy.”

He explained that a copy of the draft was received by President Tinubu on Tuesday.

“We urge the public and the media to disregard the two documents and cease further discussions on them. None is an approved official document of the Federal Government of Nigeria.

“They are all policy proposals that are still subject to reviews at the highest level of government. Indeed, one has ‘draft’ clearly written on it,” said Onanuga.

Quoting the Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Mr Wale Edun, he said, “It is important to understand that policymaking is an iterative process involving multiple drafts and discussions before any document is finalised.

“We assure the public that the official position on the documents will be made available after comprehensive reviews and approvals are completed.”

According to Edun, emanating from the two documents have been reports second-guessing government’s policy on customs tariffs, fuel subsidy and other economic matters.

“The government wants to restate that its position on fuel subsidy has not changed from what President Bola Ahmed Tinubu declared on 29 May 2023.

“The fuel subsidy regime has ended. There is no N5.4 trillion being provisioned for it in 2024, as being widely speculated and discussed,” Edun stated.

The Coordinating Minister of the Economy further clarified: “As previously stated by government officials, including myself, President Tinubu announced the end of the fuel subsidy programme last year, and this policy remains firmly in place.

“The Federal Government is committed to mitigating the effects of this removal and easing the cost of living pressures on Nigerians.

“Our strategy focuses on addressing key factors such as food inflation, which is significantly impacted by transport costs.

“With the implementation of our CNG initiative, which aims to displace high PMS and AGO costs, we expect to further reduce these costs.

“Our commitment to ending unproductive subsidies is steadfast, as is our dedication to supporting our most vulnerable populations.”

He urged the media to always exercise necessary checks and restraints in the use of documents that did not emanate from official channels so that the members of the public would be properly informed, guided and educated on government policies and programmes.