The Federal Government has said there is no going back on its decisions to remove subsidy from Premium Motor Spirit, popularly called petrol, electricity and borrowing of unclaimed dividends and unused money in bank accounts, put at about N850 billion.
The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, revealed this on Tuesday at a virtual meeting in Abuja.
Ahmed said the Federal Government did not make any provisions for petrol and electricity subsidies in the 2021 Budget.
When asked if the reduction in petrol price about a month ago had led to the return of subsidy, she said: “The answer is a flat no.
“We are not bringing back fuel subsidy.
“We didn’t make provision for fuel subsidy in the budget.
“The impact of what was done was reducing some of the cost components that were within the template.
“And also related to it, on matters of electricity subsidies, no provisions have been made for subsidy for fuel and no provisions have been made for subsidy for electricity.
“On the issue of unclaimed dividends and government’s accounts and projections, there would be as much as N850 billion to be realised into the special trust fund of unclaimed dividends.
“Government is keeping the money in trust for the beneficiaries.
“At any time a registrar or a bank confirms that this is the true and bonafide beneficiary of this fund, then government will release from that trust fund to the investor who has it.”
When asked if government would consider another lockdown following the rise in Coronavirus Disease cases, Ahmed said the hope was that it would not get to that, adding: “But then, if the health challenge becomes so large and the government has no option, then that step might be taken.
“But right now what we are doing is to re-enforce the measures that need to be taken by government, companies and individuals to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 and reduce the spread.
“Thankfully, the vaccines are now out and are available and Nigeria is in the process of deciding and beginning to acquire its own vaccine.”