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No date has been set for subsidy removal – Minister says

The Minister of State for Petroleum, Timipre Sylva, has said that there is currently no set date for petrol subsidy removal.

Mr Sylva said this on Thursday, adding that the government is being considerate of citizens.

“I cannot give you a date for now. But the Vice President is actually leading the efforts and very soon, we will tell Nigerians what date the removal of subsidy will kick in,” said the ministerChannels TV program Politics Today.

He said the government is also making efforts to put structures in place to cushion the effect of the eventual subsidy removal.

“We must be considerate of our people; you cannot say because you have the muscle, box everybody down in the room. So, what we are saying is that before doing this, we need to put some structures in place so that the impact on the people can be minimized. We are trying to create an alternative that is cheaper and more affordable.

“We also think that there should be some palliatives,” the minister added.

While noting that the federal government is not in the best position to manage the nation’s refineries, the minister said

“I will agree with you that government is not the best manager of refineries and that is why this time, we are actually going to have professional managers to manage the refineries; we are not going to manage the refinery at all,” he said on the Channels Television programme.

Despite the submission, the minister believes it will not be out of place if the government gets the refineries working before taking appropriate decisions.

He explained that the government does not subscribe to the idea of selling off the refineries in their present condition as such action would be widely criticised by citizens.

Sylva stated, “We believe that we should get the refinery back to life before we decide on the option of whether we are going to privatise or sell all the refineries.

“If we try to sell the refineries which you call dead refineries, you will be the one first persons to say we are selling dead refineries to people.”

He said the Muhammadu Buhari administration cannot be blamed for the present state of the facilities as it inherited damaged refineries.

Despite this, he said the government has decided to prove to Nigerians that the refineries can be fixed and put back into working condition.

After the refineries have been fixed, the minister believes Nigerians can then decide what to do about them.

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