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We Put Petrol Subsidy Removal On Hold B’cos APC Had Election To Win– Garba Shehu

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We Put Petrol Subsidy Removal On Hold B’cos APC Had Election To Win– Garba Shehu

With the election now behind us, a capable leader as we now have in place is best positioned to move forward.

The former presidential spokesman, Garba Shehu, on Monday explained why Buhari administration in its last days was unable to remove fuel subsidy because the APC had an election to win.

In a statement he issued, the former senior special assistant on media and publicity reminded Nigerians of the massive electricity subsidy, the fraudulent fertilizer subsidy, the Hajj/Christian Pilgrim subsidies, diesel subsidy, aviation fuel subsidy, LPFO, Kerosene, cooking gas and the other subsidy policies the Buhari administration found in place, and put them firmly on the ground.

“For those with short memories, many of those subsidies were all in place when President Buhari was elected into office in 2015. All those in place were gone by May 2023, including the annual fertilizer subsidy that weighed 60-100 billion Naira (that’s  trillion naira in about 10 years). Yes, you read that right; heavy on the federal budget each year” he said.

Shehu noted that Buhari didn’t remove the petrol subsidy but in vitally important stages he removed every other budget-busting, egregious, economic-growth-crushing subsidy along the way.

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He said, “So far I have refrained from answering these repeated questions on the removal in Nigeria of subsidies on Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) and that arising from the dual rates of the Naira in the Central Bank and the parallel market. Why did Buhari “fail” to do these?

“First of all, my thinking is that instead of the former president answering this question, it is the party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) that is best suited to speak and failing to do this. We are forced to say what will follow here.

“Second, we are mindful of the fact that with a Tinubu/Shettima presidency now in place and for which there is a “New Sheriff in Town, we do not want to distract them from the onerous tasks facing them and the nation. Neither is it our wish to take the spotlight away from them in any way.

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“In terms of the timing of the decisions to remove fuel subsidy and unify the currency, the Tinubu/Shettima administration has done overwhelmingly well. Even more importantly, they have been most dexterous in managing the aftermath of the decisions by successfully avoiding any crisis.

“To this extent, our wish and prayers are that fellow countrymen will continue to support the new leadership in these very laudable decisions and, in particular, for the Labour leadership and civil society to work with them to ensure that the palliative efforts as promised are successfully implemented.”

According to him, removing subsidies for the Naira and PMS was cued and put on hold.

“Look for example in the Petroleum Industry Act. The important decision was kept for a better time. It could not have come at a time when tensions were high in the country and no responsible leader would have added fuel to the fire”, he explained.

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Shehu added that the Buhari administration in its last days could not have gone the whole way to remove subsidy because the APC had an election to win.

He continued: “And that would have been the case with any political party that was seeking election for another term with a new principal at its head.

“Poll after polls showed that the party would have been thrown out of office if the decision as envisaged by the new Petroleum Industry Act was made.

“With the election now behind us, a capable leader as we now have in place is best positioned to move forward. We have nothing but confidence that the new administration will carry the nation and all its constituents into a stable future in the aftermath of these major economic and financial decisions.

“As they say, there are times when you have to lose in order to win”.

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