FG to amend PIA to make room for fuel subsidy removal, says Sylva

THE Federal Government, on Tuesday, said it would be approaching the National Assembly with a proposed amendment on the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) to capture fuel subsidy removal plans.

Timipreye Sylva, who announced government’s position on Tuesday in Abuja, said the government would send proposal for an amendment of PIA to the National Assembly.

“We see the legal implications of suspending the subsidy removal.There is a six months provision in the Act . That’s why we are coming out to say, before the expiration of this time, this is what we intend to do.

“I also mentioned that we would engage the legislature, and we would apply for some amendments of the law so that we would still be in the law.”

The minister also noted that the government was proposing 18 months’ extension, but what the National Assembly was going to approve would be up to them.

He said:”We are proposing an 18-month extension on the subsidy suspension time, but what the National Assembly would approve is up to them.

“With assent by the president on August 16, 2021, the PMS subsidy removal was therefore expected to take place effective on February 16th 2021.”

The minister equally stressed that from the effective day of signing the PIA, the NNPC Limited, by Act, was expected to swing into action as supplier of last resort.

He noted that the essence was to forestall supply disruptions and guide market readiness, preparatory to a deregulated pricing regime.

According to the minister, the extension would enable the stakeholders time to ensure implementation was carried out in a manner that would ensure modalities were in place to cushion the effect of subsidy removal, in line with the prevailing economic realities.

“There is a provision in the law, but because the president is concerned about the less privileged, he believes that impact of subsidy removal on the vulnerable Nigerians should be mitigated.”



    He believed that certain key structures should be put in place before the removal of the fuel subsidies.

    According to Sylva,”One of those is to ensure that the refineries are working and you’re aware that we’re working on the refineries to come on stream soonest.

    “The Dangote refinery is expected to come on stream by the end of this year.
    All our refinery is expected to be performing at certain capacity before the end of the year,” he said.

    He further noted that there werere some modular refineries that would come on stream in 2023.

    Harrison Edeh is a journalist with the International Centre for Investigative Reporting, always determined to drive advocacy for good governance through holding public officials and businesses accountable.

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