World Bank criticises N2.9trn subsidy funding, urges removal

World Bank criticises N2.9trn subsidy funding, urges removal

The World Bank has decried the continued spending by the Nigerian government on petrol subsidy; which it said is on track to gobble up N2.9tn this year.

This was contained in a statement issued by the World Bank Country Director for Nigeria, Shubham Chaudhuri, who spoke on Monday, October 26, at a panel session during the 27th National Economic Summit, said the country could channel the money being spent on subsidy to primary healthcare, basic education, and rural roads.

“This year, Nigeria is on track to spend N2.9tn on PMS subsidy; which is more than it spends on health,” he said.

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Also speaking at the session, the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, said the Federal Government had made provision for petrol subsidy till the end of June next year.

“In our 2022 budget, we only factored in subsidy for the first half of the year; the second half of the year; we are looking at complete deregulation of the sector; saving foreign exchange and potentially earning more from the oil and gas industry,” she said.

The World Bank director, who likened Nigeria to a malnourished individual needing urgent treatment; said some critical decisions need to be made now for the country to realise its potential.

He said, “I think the urgency of doing something now is because the time is going in terms of retaining the hope of young Nigerians in the future and potential of Nigeria. The kinds of things that could be done right away – the petrol subsidy; yes, I hear that six months from now, perhaps with the PIA(Petroleum Industry Act) coming into effect, this will go away.

“But the fact is can Nigeria even afford to wait for those six months? And there is a choice: N3tn to PMS subsidy; which is depriving states of much-needed revenues to invest in basic services.”

 

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