On May 29, 2023, Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Kashim Shettima took the oath as the President and Vice President of Nigeria, respectively, at the Eagle Square in Abuja. They then moved to the Presidential Villa in Abuja to commence their leadership over Nigeria.
After being sworn in by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Bola Ahmed Tinubu addressed the Nigerian people and delivered an impactful speech that instilled hope in his new administration. He expressed gratitude to the citizens for voting for him and pledged to involve everyone in the country’s affairs. He made a promise to diligently work towards eradicating poverty and promoting development for the benefit of all Nigerians.
During his inaugural speech, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu made a surprising statement, declaring the end of fuel subsidy In Nigeria. This announcement sparked various responses across the country. Shortly after Tinubu’s declaration, reports emerged that petroleum marketers had raised the fuel prices to N500 to N600 per litre in different states, including Lagos State, Tinubu’s home state. This development stirred controversy, as it led to a rise in transportation costs and prompted people to question the reasons behind Tinubu’s decision to eliminate fuel subsidy.
In response to the situation, Alhaji Mele Kyari, the Group Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC), revealed contrasting information regarding the fuel subsidy removal, Kyari stated that the previous government had not allocated any funds for petroleum subsidy in the 2023 budget. He made these remarks during a meeting with the Senator Abdullahi Adamu-led APC National Working Committee in Abuja, emphasizing that the removal of fuel subsidy had not been enacted into law or debated by the members of the National Assembly. He further disclosed that the NNPC still had a net balance of over N2.8 trillion that should have been refunded by the federation.
Kyari explained that the subsidy provision existed only on paper without any funding, and if the situation persisted, it would lead to defaults and liquidity issues for the NNPC, thereby affecting the country’s borrowing and reputation. He highlighted the substantial financial burden imposed by fuel subsidy, suggesting that Nigeria might struggle to meet its debts. However, he assured Nigerians that the government was working on implementing measures to allete the impact, including the direction from President Bola Tinubu to initiate engagements and introduce palliatives.
Additionally, Mele Kyari shared that all four refineries in Nigeria would soon be operational as rehabilitation efforts were underway. He stated that one refinery would start functioning before the end of 2023, followed by another in 2024, and subsequent ones afterward. Kyari reiterated that the fuel subsidy regime was permanently discontinued due to the government’s inability to sustain it, citing the accumulation of subsidy bills and the country’s financial constraints.