The Minister of Communication and Culture, Lai Mohammed, has said that the Federal Government cannot, at the moment, remove subsidies on the Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), popularly called petrol.
Mohammed, who spoke during an exclusive interview to Reuters in London, said many other nations were introducing measures to help citizens cope with high oil energy prices, hence Africa’s most populous country could not be an exception. Nigeria is Africa’s largest oil exporter but still has to import almost all its fuel needs due to a lack of refining capacity. The Federal Government shelved plans to abolish fuel subsidies earlier this year, a move that raised concerns with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
“When you consider the chaos, the social disharmony and … instability such an action (abolishing subsidies) would facilitate, is it worth it? I don’t think so,” the Minister said. The Minister believes that a new industry law that allocates money to oil-producing communities would stop attacks and blamed the European Union’s climate change policies for stifling investment in the sector.
He added, “We believe that climate change is real and important for emission control, but there is a bit of double standard in the EU policy regarding climate change,” he said.