THE Federal Government on Tuesday proposed an 18-month delay in implementation of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) to enable it to continue with the payment pay of petroleum subsidy.
The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, announced the initiative while briefing correspondents at the presidential villa, Abuja, saying that the decision was reached as a result of President Mohammadu Buhari’s insistence that all the necessary structures must be put in place to caution the effect of the subsidy removal.
The government had made subsidy provision in the 2022 budget only up till June with the hope that the PIA will become fully operational by then. Sylva said the decision was reached as a result of President Mohammadu Buhari’s insistence that all the necessary structures must be put in place to cushion the effect of the removal.
He added that the president had approved the suspension of the removal of fuel subsidy until further notice.
The minister said that the government would continue to engage the leadership of the organized Labour who had insisted that the proposed nationwide protest on January 27 against the subsidy removal would still go ahead.
Sylva affirmed that the executive would propose an 18-month extension to the National Assembly for the implementation of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA), that was meant to commence this February.
Reading from a prepared text, the minister said, “President Muhammadu Buhari has, following engagements with stakeholders, agreed to an extension of the statutory period for the implementation of the removal of subsidy on Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), in line with existing laws.
“The new Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) provides for the unrestricted market pricing for PMS from the effective date.
“However, the PIA also envisaged the potential for supply disruption with its resultant effect on the economy.
“Consequently, it provides for a window of six months from the effective date for government to request the services of NNPC Limited as a supplier of last resort.
“This is to forestall supply disruptions and guide market readiness preparatory to migration to the deregulated pricing regime.
With assent by the president on August 16, 2021, the PMS subsidy removal was therefore expected to take place effective February 16, 2022.
“However, following extensive consultations with all key stakeholders within and outside the government, it has been agreed that the implementation period for the removal of the subsidy should be extended.