By Kunle Adedoyin
Bismarck Rewane, Chief Executive Officer of Financial Derivatives Company Limited, has asked Nigerians to brace up for an increase in the pump price of petrol.
Rewane, in a presentation at the Lagos Business School, said there were indications that the price of fuel would rise because government is working towards reducing subsidy payments.
He described subsidies as a huge drain on government’s revenue, adding that the World Bank put Nigeria’s total subsidy bill in 2018 at N731 billion.
“A gradual reduction in subsidy payments is anticipated. Only N305bn set aside for under-recovery in 2019 budget; expect an increase in the pump price of fuel,” he said.
“Forty per cent shortfall in provision for subsidies (under-recoveries) points to possible price increases.”
However, Rewane pointed out that increase in price of petrol would result in high inflationary pressure.
He described the 2019 budget as counter-cyclical, saying the economy was in dire need of a boost.
He said with expenditures much higher than sustainable revenues, the fiscal deficit had widened by 2.15 per cent to N1.9tn, adding that the supplementary budget could not be avoided.
“Oil revenues are projected to decline due to the impact of OPEC quota on Nigeria’s oil output level,” he added.
In 2016, the Buhari administration increased a litre of petrol from N87 to N145, sparking criticism among citizens.
Rewane advised the states to build up their internally generated revenue (IGR), to funding the higher liability of the new minimum monthly wage, instead of relying on disbursements from the Federal Accounts Allocation Committee (FAAC).
Rewane said the capacity of the economic management team will determine the success of President Muhammadu Buhari in the second term.
He projected that Buhari would have unveiled his cabinet by June, saying “the post cabinet selection squabbling will lead to splintering of the All Progressives Congress”.
On the 2019 general elections results, Rewane stated that the election tribunal results will “upset at least four governorship races.”