The Federal Government has revealed that Nigerian economy is in dire straits and the nation lacks enough funds to meet its obligations, saying that it was broke and needed to raise money to keep the system afloat.
Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, on Wednesday made this known while explaining the decision of the federal government to increase the pump price of fuel. He said the policy was not aimed at removing subsidy but to free funds to help the government meet its other financial obligations.
“The current problem is not really about subsidy removal. It is about that Nigeria is broke. Pure and simple!”
Briefing state house correspondents after the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari, Lai Mohammed called on Nigerians to bear with the government.
The Council met to review most contemporary national issues which prominently revolved around the fuel hike, its attendant challenges and industrial action by the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC).
According to the Minister, Nigeria was like a person who has been earning N100,000 a month and is faced with a situation where his employer says henceforth you will be earning N10,000 a month. Such a person would need to make some very painful decisions and some very painful adjustments.
That is the situation with Nigeria today. A few months ago, Nigeria was earning as much as $100 for every barrel of crude. In the months of February and March, we were short, we no longer have the resources, the foreign exchange to bring in refined fuel products. And our economy is shrinking, he said.
Lai Mohammed said government appreciates the fact that the decision is going to affect everybody, and what we are going through, but Nigerians should also know that the government has the responsibility at times to take very difficult decisions. So, it is not always about popularity.
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With him at the briefing were the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami; Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola (SAN); and Labour and Productivity Minister, Dr. Chris Ngige, who also spoke to press men.