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Nigeria may examine fuel subsidy removal – Minister

Nigeria will look into the gradual removal of fuel subsidy as part of strategies to boost revenue, Finance Minister Zainab Ahmed has said.Reacting to the IMF’s advice to Nigeria and other countries, which still subsidise fossil fuel to stop doing so, Ahmed said on Thursday on the sideline of the IMF/World Bank meetings in Washington DC, that it was a good advice, “but we have to implement it in a way that will be successful as well as sustainable”.

“We are not in the position to wake up one night and just remove subsidy. We have to educate the people, we have to show the Nigerian citizens what the replacement for this subsidy will be.

“So, we have a lot of work to do because subsidy removal has to be gradual and the public has to be well informed,” she said.

Ahmed said that since the IMF/World Bank meetings started, she has had high-level meetings on taxation and discussions on global economy.

“We spoke on the need to build more fiscal buffers because of the slow down in global economic growth and partly by the natural incidences that are happening around the world like the cyclone in Southern Africa.

“We are discussing between ourselves on how we can better manage our finances and also how we must curtail the increases in our debt.

“For Nigeria, we are asking the World Bank to review some of the initiatives that involve them looking at implementation systems when they are providing funding for infrastructure.

“We understand that it’s well intended, but we have informed them that they need to review its implementation so that we are not overly slowed down because of the new procedures,” she said.

The IMF believes that fuel subsidy removal will help boost revenue and improve government’s spending to build more hospitals, roads, schools, and to support education and health for the people.

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