Muhammadu Buhari, Nigeria’s president, has vowed to end payment of petrol subsidy in 2023, noting that it’s not sustainable.
Buhari also argued that the federal government cannot fund tertiary education alone, suggesting that a more creative approach be adopted to fund education.
This year, the federal government has projected to spend N4 trillion on petrol subsidies, and another estimated N6.7 trillion in 2023.
The president who spoke on Friday during the presentation of the proposed 2023 budget to the national assembly, in Abuja, said subsidy was no longer sustainable considering the current fiscal impact.
Buhari had presented a record N20.51 trillion 2023 appropriation bill to the national assembly, earlier on Friday.
“As we seek to grow our government revenues, we must also focus on the efficiency of utilisation of our limited resources. Critical steps we are taking include immediate implementation of additional measures towards reducing the cost of governance and the discontinuation of fuel subsidy in 2023 as announced earlier,” he said.
Buhari said discontinuing the policy was necessary for the country to manage its limited resources.
However, he noted that there would be alternative provisions to curb the effects of the petrol subsidy removal.
“We are however mindful of the fact that reducing government spending too drastically can be socially destabilising, and so will continue to implement programmes to support the more vulnerable segments of society,” he said.
“Petrol subsidy has been a recurring and controversial public policy issue in our country since the early eighties. However, its current fiscal impact has clearly shown that the policy is unsustainable.
“As a country, we must now confront this issue taking cognisance of the need to provide safety nets to cushion the attendant effects on some segments of society.”
On education, Buhari said, “In the determined effort to resolve the [ASUU] issue, we have provided a total of 470 billion Naira in the 2023 budget, from our constrained resources, for revitalization and salary enhancements in the tertiary institutions.”
He, however, noted that, “It is instructive to note that today Government alone cannot provide the resources required for funding tertiary education.” –
“In most countries, the cost of education is jointly shared between the government and the people, especially at the tertiary level. It is imperative therefore that we introduce a more sustainable model of funding tertiary education.”
“The Government remains committed to the implementation of agreements reached with staff unions within available resources. This is why we have remained resolute that we will not sign any agreement that we would be unable to implement.”