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Nigerian minister says subsidy withdrawal not dictated by IMF

(Xinhua)

14:22, January 11, 2012

ABUJA, Jan. 10 (Xinhua) -- Nigeria's Minister of Labor and Productivity Chukwuemeka Wogu said in Abuja on Tuesday that the IMF/World Bank did not instruct or direct the federal government to withdraw fuel subsidy.

The minister said the government took the decision in the best interest of the country and its citizenry and also to stimulate the economy.

The minister was reacting to claims by opponents of the decision that government was taking dictation from the Breton Woods institutions on how to manage the nation's economy.

He stressed that the government would not take decisions that were injurious to Nigerians and reassured that fuel subsidy withdrawal became necessary to save the nation's economy from going adrift.

Wogu argued that the subsidy withdrawal policy began 15 years prior to 2012 under past administrations and that it was time to put the economy on a straight path.

According to him, African and non-African countries which had toed the line of subsidy removal in the past currently had very vibrant economies. "In the countries that have done it before, who have now come out to be one of the strongest economies in the world, is Brazil," he added.

"Brazil did it and people were agitated that this was not in the best interest, but with the passage of time, look at what Brazil has turned into, generating a lot of jobs, creating a lot of rich people, the same thing will happen in the country," he said.

"And then you can see that because of the global economic issues Ghana for instance, is in the media and has removed subsidies and they've done their own deregulation in the oil and gas subsector," the minister told reporters.

"The only thing we are asking Nigerians to do is to be patient with the government so that at the end of the day, we will be able to reap the benefits of this policy," he added.

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