President Muhammadu Buhari has defended the decision of the federal government to keep subsidizing fuel.
In a reply to Bloomberg, the President said that taking away fuel subsidies would have hurt the Nigerian people too much.
He said that the government is working to improve local capacity to stop the rise in prices that would happen if subsidies were taken away.
“Most western countries are now giving discounts on gas. Why should we take ours off right now?” “What’s good for the goose is good for the gander!” He (or she) said.
“Our western allies are learning the hard way that what looks good on paper and what happens to people are two different things.
“At the end of last year, my government began making plans to get rid of the subsidy. As the year went on and more people were asked their opinions, it became clear that such a move would not work.
“Increasing the amount of refined products made in the country will also help. As more private companies and modular refineries (like the Dangote Refinery, BUA Group Refinery, and Waltersmith Refinery) come on board, capacity is expected to go up by a lot by the end of this year and the beginning of next year.
“The exchange rate is still vulnerable to shocks from outside that can hit Nigerians hard and quickly. As we increase our own production of fuel (thanks to PIA) and food (thanks to agricultural policies), the threat of inflation will go down, and we can move toward unification.
The President’s comment comes at a time when many parts of the country, including the business hub of Lagos, are having trouble getting enough fuel.