•May borrow N850bn unclaimed dividends
Okechukwu Nnodim, Abuja
The Federal Government is not subsiding Premium Motor Spirit, popularly called petrol and has no plan to do so, Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, said on Tuesday.
She also stated that the government did not make any provision for electricity subsidy in 2021 and would not subsidise power.
Responding to a question on whether the reduction in petrol price about a month ago had led to the return of subsidy, while speaking during a virtual meeting in Abuja, Ahmed 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.”
The minister stated that the government would hold the unclaimed dividends of investors in the stock market in trust and would make the fund available when needed by an investor.
“On the issue of unclaimed dividends and government’s accounts and projections, there would be as much as N850bn to be realised into the special trust fund of unclaimed dividends,” she said.
Ahmed added, “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 bona-fide beneficiary of this fund, then government will release from that trust fund to the investor who has it.”
On another possible lockdown, the minister said it was the hope of government not to lockdown the economy like it did before because the impact was very hard on Nigeria.
“But then, if the health challenge becomes so large and the government has no option, then that step might be taken,” she said.
Ahmed added, “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.”
She urged Nigerians to abide by stipulated COVID-19 protocols to avoid another nationwide lockdown in 2021.