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Stop Electricity Subsidy, IMF tells FG

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has warned the Nigerian government to remove what it called implicit fuel and electricity subsidies, Punch reports.

In a report published recently by the IMF, the organisation told Nigeria that the subsidies would guzzle three per cent of the nation’s Gross Domestic Product in 2024 as against one per cent in the year before.

According to the report, the IMF commended the Federal Government for, among other things, phasing out “costly and regressive energy subsidies”, saying this was critical to creating fiscal space for development spending and strengthening social protection while maintaining debt sustainability.

IMF noted, however, that “adequate compensatory measures for the poor were not scaled up promptly and subsequently paused over corruption concerns. Capping pump prices below cost reintroduced implicit subsidies by end-2023 to help Nigerians cope with high inflation and exchange rate depreciation.” The body also acknowledged that the price of electricity had tripled for high-use premium consumers on Band A feeders, 15 per cent of the 12 million customers who account for 40 per cent of electricity usage. As Nigerians agitate for the reversal of the Band A tariff from N206.80 per kilowatt-hour to N68, IMF submitted that “the tariff adjustment will help reduce expenditure on subsidies by 0.1 per cent of Gross Domestic Product”.

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