The Minister of State, Petroleum Resources, Mr Timipre Sylva, has revealed that President Muhammadu Buhari has endorsed an 18-month suspension of the removal of subsidy on Premium Motor Spirit (PMS).
Sylva made this known at a special media briefing organised by the office of the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, in Abuja on Tuesday, January 25.
Sylva had earlier met behind closed doors with the president, who also serves as the Minister of Petroleum Resources.
According to Sylva, arrangements have reached an advanced stage by the executive arm of government to propose to the National Assembly, an 18-month extension for the implementation of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) that was meant to kick-start in February.
He said: “We don’t intend to remove subsidy now. That is why we are making this announcement.
“We also see the legal implication. There is six months provision in the PIA, which will expire in February; and that is why we are coming out to say that before the expiration of this time, as I said earlier, we will engage the legislature.
“We believe that this will go to the legislature; we are applying for amendment of the law; so that we will still be within the law.
“We are proposing, an 18months extension. But what the National Assembly is going to approve is up to them.
“We would approve an 18 months extension; and then it is up to the National Assembly to look at it and pass the amendment as the see it.’’
On the possibility of gradual increase in the price of PMS, the minister dismissed such plans, saying “that is not on the table as well. Gradual or increment in whatever guise is not on the table.
“We are going to see how to rejig the law; this is not going to be the only amendment to the PIA.
“A few months ago, the president already proposed an amendment to the law.”
The president had on Aug. 16, 2021, signed the Petroleum Industry Bill into law.
The PIA is expectedly meant to grow investors’ confidence in Nigeria’s Petroleum Industry; and create more employment opportunities for the populace in the host communities.
Buhari’s assent to the bill was in furtherance to the passage of the bill by both the Senate and the House of Representatives earlier in July 2021.