Nigeria withdraws fuel subsidies amid fears of labour unrest
02 January 2012
Nigeria today announced it would do away with fuel subsidies amid fears of labour unrest, a move that would prove unpopular among the citizens of the oil-rich nation as it would push up prices of petroleum products.
According to the government of president Goodluck Jonathan, it had spent over $8 billion on the subsidies and the money could be saved by phasing out the subsidies and could be used to help the poor.
The government promised it would use the amount saved from subsidy removal for infrastructure improvement.
Long queues could be seen at petrol stations no sooner the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) came out with the announcement but some outlets refused to sell.
The PPRA said consumers were assured of adequate supply of quality products at competitive prices that were non-exploitative and there was therefore no need for anyone to engage in panic buying or product hoarding. However, there was increased apprehension among citizens as they regard the fuel subsidy as the only benefit they enjoy for being an oil producing country.
Nigeria's senate also said the removal was premature as consultations had still not concluded.
According to the senate spokesman Enyinnaya Abaribe, such action could only be carried out when a final decision has been taken on the 2012 Appropriation Bill, currently before parliament.