The Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo, says the President, President Muhammadu Buhari, relies heavily on funds generated by Nigeria Customs Service and Federal Inland Revenue Service.
Keyamo’s statement corroborated an earlier report by the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited on July 20 that it would no longer remit money to the Federation Accounts Allocation Committee for sharing to the three tiers of government monthly.
The NNPC hinged the decision on its latest transition from a public corporation to a limited liability company, adding that all monetary arrears to the committee were owed by the old corporation and not the new oil company.
Keyamo made the statement at the unveiling of The Progressives Forum at the International Conference Centre in Abuja, on Wednesday.
“NNPC is no longer remitting money into FAAC. I hope you know that. All the money they earn goes into subsidies. So the government has to rely on revenue from customs, FIRS, and others to pay salaries and carry out some other activities. Go and check the gas prices in the US and UK. They have gone up more than four or five times, even in oil-producing countries,” he said.
This is even as the spokesperson of the APC Presidential Campaign Council disclosed that Buhari’s sympathy for the masses is the sole reason subsidy on fuel importation has not been removed.
According to him, the president has proposed to remove subsidy by next year after some level of palliative measures have been put in place to cushion the effect.
He said, “If it were to be another government in power, I am telling you there will be no subsidy. But President Buhari wants some measures in place to cushion the effect on the poor before it is removed. This is because there is no longer any justification to retain subsidy as I speak with you today.
“We are in government and cannot hide it from the masses. We just have to keep saying that subsidy has eaten deep into our economy. But it seems the sympathy that the president has for the poor that is still keeping subsidies alive. He feels there is a need to put measures in place to cushion the effect on the poor before it is removed.
“That’s why he pushed it till sometime next year. It is not a secret.
“As against those who want a free market economy, we believe that there must be intervention in the lives of the poor and the middle class. This philosophy is quite different from what other political parties are offering. That’s why we have a lot of intervention programs such as conditional cash transfers to the very poor. That’s the philosophy of Buhari and APC.”