Zainab Ahmed, Minister of Finance, on Wednesday gave indications that the Federal Government was at crossroads regarding the implementation of a fuel subsidy removal policy.
According to her, there were no clear cut strategies or buffers designed for now by the government to conveniently exit fuel subsidy payments.
She disclosed that fear of the effects on the downtrodden members of the society was a major constraint before the government.
Her explanations came on the heels of recent advice by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) that Nigeria should find a way of removing subsidies on fuel products and channel the funds to the provision of basic infrastructure.
She spoke at the State House, Abuja, shortly after the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari.
She said: “Let me say that last week when we were having IMF/World Bank meeting, there was just one interactive session we had with Nigerian journalists.
“So, we didn’t have any session discussing subsidy. It was in an interview that somebody raised a question based on the Article 4 Report of the IMF.
“What they were asking is what we are doing to remove fuel subsidy and whether we agreed with IMF’s conclusion on subsidy removal.
“So, let me say that everywhere in the world where IMF does its review, it will always give advice because that’s the purpose of the review.
“And their advice is when you give subsidy, whether it is fuel or power, their advice is always, ‘look at how you can exit doing that, so that you are not doing that for petrol.’ And that’s the same advice they gave Nigeria.
“When I was asked, I said we agree with that advice. We need to find how we can exit fuel subsidy, but how do we do that? We’ll do that only when we have enough buffers to cushion the effect or removal for our people.