The Federal Government, on Tuesday, proposed an 18-month extension to complete the removal 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 removal.
He said the president has approved the suspension of the removal of fuel subsidy until further notice as he declared that fuel subsidy is not on the card for now.
The Minister said that the government will continue to engage the leadership of the organised who have insisted that the proposed nationwide protest on January 27 against the subsidy removal would go ahead.
Sylvia affirmed that the executive will propose 18 months extension to National Assembly for the implementation of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) that was meant to kickstart this February.
He said: “We don’t intend to remove subsidy now. That is why are making this announcement.
“We also see the legal implication. There is six months provision in the PIA which will expire in February and that is why we are coming out to say that before the expiration of this time, as I said earlier, we will engage the legislature. We believe that this will go to the legislature, we are applying for amendment of the law so that we would still be within the law.
“We are proposing an 18 months extension but what the National Assembly is going to approve is up to them. We would approve an 18 months extension and then it is up to the national Assembly to look at it and pass the amendment as they see it.
“Somebody mentioned here the possibility of gradual increase, that is not on the table as well. Gradual or increment in whatever guise is not on the table.
“We are going to see how to rejig the law, this is not going to be the only amendment to the PIA. A few months ago, the President already proposed an amendment to the law.”