Nigeria Moves to End Fuel Subsidies

Posted October 5th, 2011 at 9:50 am (UTC-5)
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Nigeria's government has proposed phasing out fuel subsidies for consumers, a move critics say would further burden impoverished Nigerians and likely spark protests.

In a letter to lawmakers on Tuesday, President Goodluck Jonathan said the action will give the government an extra $7.5 billion to invest on infrastructure and job creation.

Mr. Jonathan also proposed using some of the new revenue to provide “safety nets for poor segments of society” to help them cope with the loss of the subsidies.

The president said the action is a “major component” of a four-year budget plan he delivered to the National Assembly this week.

The nation's two main labor unions have threatened to hold nationwide strikes to protest the removal of fuel subsidies. Critics have charged that Nigerians are not fairly benefiting from the country's oil wealth.

Nigeria is sub-Saharan Africa's top-oil producing country and its most populous state.