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Tinubu’s govt insists no more subsidy, says leaked documents not official yet

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The presidency has maintained that it is no longer paying fuel subsidy, noting that the two trending fiscal policy documents in circulation are still proposals and have not been approved by President Bola Tinubu.

The government insisted that the fuel subsidy regime has ended, and that its position on the subject has not changed since President Tinubu’s declaration on 29 May 2023.

Atiku Abubakar, former vice president, had in a statement on Wednesday, said that the Tinubu administration could spend as much as N5.4 trillion on subsidy in 2024.

But the presidency also added that there is no N5.4 trillion being provisioned for it in 2024, as being widely speculated and discussed.

Recall that the documents, titled Inflation Reduction and Price Stability (Fiscal Policy Measure etc) Order 2024 and Accelerated Stabilisation and Advancement Plan (ASAP) surfaced on the internet on Tuesday following a meeting between the Minister of Finance, Wale Edun and President Tinubu at the State House in Abuja.

The first policy proposal aims to reduce inflation and stabilise prices, while the second policy aims to fast-track economic recovery and provide succour to Nigerians as possible.

In a statement on Thursday, the Special Adviser to the President on Information and Strategy, Bayo Onanuga, said the two documents are not official and still subject to reviews at the highest level of government.

The statement reads: “The attention of the Presidency has been drawn to two fiscal policy documents in circulation that are being given wide coverage by the mainstream media and social media platforms.

“One of the documents titled Inflation Reduction and Price Stability (Fiscal Policy Measure etc) Order 2024 is being shared as if it were an executive order signed by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

“The other is a 65-page draft document with the title “Accelerated Stabilisation and Advancement Plan (ASAP), which contains suggestions on how to improve the Nigerian economy. President Tinubu received a copy of the draft on Tuesday.

“We urge the public and the media to disregard the two documents and cease further discussions on them. None is an approved official document of the Federal Government of Nigeria. They are all policy proposals that are still subject to review at the highest level of government. Indeed, one has a ‘draft’ clearly written on it.

“According to the Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Mr. Wale Edun, “It is important to understand that policymaking is an iterative process involving multiple drafts and discussions before any document is finalised.

“We assure the public that the official position on the documents will be made available after comprehensive reviews and approvals are completed.”

Onanuga also asked the public and media to stop second-guessing the government’s policy on customs tariffs, fuel subsidies and other economic matters, calling on the media to always confirm documents that do not emanate from official channels so that the members of the public are properly informed on government policies and programmes.

The statement added: “Emanating from the two documents have been reports second-guessing government’s policy on customs tariffs, fuel subsidy and other economic matters.

“The government wants to restate that its position on fuel subsidy has not changed from what President Bola Ahmed Tinubu declared on 29 May 2023. The fuel subsidy regime has ended. There is no N5.4 trillion being provisioned for it in 2024, as being widely speculated and discussed,” Edun stated.

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“The Coordinating Minister of the Economy further clarified: “As previously stated by government officials, including myself, President Tinubu announced the end of the fuel subsidy program last year, and this policy remains firmly in place.

“The Federal Government is committed to mitigating the effects of this removal and easing the cost of living pressures on Nigerians.

“Our strategy focuses on addressing key factors such as food inflation, which is significantly impacted by transport costs. With the implementation of our CNG initiative, which aims to displace high PMS and AGO costs, we expect to further reduce these costs.

“Our commitment to ending unproductive subsidies is steadfast, as is our dedication to supporting our most vulnerable populations”.

“We call on the media to always exercise necessary checks and restraints in the use of documents that do not emanate from official channels so that the members of the public are properly informed, guided and educated on government policies and programmes.”

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