Marketers, NESG wary of crisis as fuel subsidy gulps N2.04tn

The Nigerian Economic Summit Group and oil marketers, under the aegis of the Petroleum Retail Outlet Owners Association of Nigeria, have aired their concerns over an impending fiscal crisis in Nigeria due to the continued rise in subsidy on Premium Motor Spirit, popularly called petrol.

NESG expressed its concern in the group’s September 2022 report titled, “The State of Nigeria’s Economy,” obtained in Abuja on Monday, as figures from the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited indicated that petrol subsidy gulped N2.04tn between January and July this year.

NNPC said its under-recovery of PMS/value shortfall, otherwise called fuel subsidy, was N210.38bn, N219.78bn, N245.77bn and N271.59bn in January, February, March and April 2022 respectively.

In the months of May, June and July, petrol subsidy gulped N327.07bn, N319.18bn and N448.78bn respectively. The total sum spent on PMS subsidy during the seven-month period was put at N2.04tn.

In NESG’s latest report on the state of Nigeria’s economy, it observed that the Federal Government’s huge fuel subsidy spending had been a drain on the country’s revenue despite the rise in crude oil prices in 2022.

The group stated, “In line with historical precedent, Nigeria’s fiscal space has been largely unimpressive, primarily on the revenue alongside a growing fiscal deficit.

“Despite an increase in global oil prices, the Federal Government’s actual revenue (N1.63tn for January – April 2022) is short of the pro-rated budget (N3.32tn), while government spending (N4.72tn for January – April 2022) was significantly closer to the budgeted levels (N5.77tn for January -April 2022).”

The NESG called on the government to cut its fiscal deficit to avert an impending fiscal crisis, highlighting the gradual withdrawal of fuel subsidy as one of the measures to achieve this.