The Federal Government of Nigeria has addressed the topic pf petrol subsidy.
The government, yesterday acknowledged that the cost of subsidy on petrol between year 2005 to 2021 could be more than N13 trillion ($74 billion) if the economic and opportunity costs of the policy are computed in financial terms.
The Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr Boss Mustapha disclosed this during the launch of the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI), strategic plan 2022-2026, in Abuja.
Mr. Mustapha who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, of General Services, Mr Maurice Mbaeri said the cost “in relative terms is equivalent to Nigeria’s entire budget for health, education, agriculture, and defence in the last five years, and almost the capital expenditure for 10 years between 2011‑2020.
“I guess that this could be more if we compute in financial terms other economic and opportunity costs to the nation. These include the slashing of allocations for the health, education, and technology infrastructure sectors; Deterioration of the downstream sector with the declining performance of Nigeria’s refineries, an incentivised private sector investment in the down and mid-stream petroleum sector; Low employment generation since the refining process is done outside the shores of Nigeria and inefficient supply arrangements which often leads to scarcity and its attendant queues etc”.
He explained that the government would continue to follow the ongoing debate on the issue, adding that “a comprehensive position to guide the incoming administration on when and how to make this decision is being developed by the Presidential Transition Council which I currently head. I, therefore, have no doubt that the incoming administration will consider our position on the issue and make an informed decision in the overriding public interest”.
While commending NEITI for shedding light on the operations of the extractive industries over the years, he said the government was determined to sustain the implementation of the extractive industries transparency initiative (EITI)’s principles in the management of Nigeria’s oil, gas and solid mineral resources.
Earlier, the Executive Secretary of NEITI, Dr Orji Ogbonnaya Orji called for the liberalisation of the solid mineral sector, saying such a policy would attract investment into the mining sector.
Dr. Orji noted that the solid minerals sector has the potential to contribute over 60 per cent to the Gross Domestic Product, GDP, from its current 1.8 per cent.
He added: “From NEITI reports, a total of N624.1 billion was recorded as revenue that has accrued to the government from the sector over a 13-year period which in today’s exchange rate amounts to about $1.4 billion compared to the enormous $394 billion earned in the oil and gas sector in just 10 years. This shows negligence to the enormous potentials in the solid minerals sector”.
He explained that the new 5-year strategic plan would enable NEITI to enhance extractive sector governance reforms through policy research, strategic stakeholder engagement, communication and inter-agency collaboration.
On his part, the NEITI Board Chairman, Bar Olusegun Adekunle thanked President Muhammadu Buhari for providing NEITI with a befitting new office complex, adding that it now has a conducive environment for its staff to work.