Nigeria Fuel Shortage / Photo: AP

The Nigerian government says it has secured a loan of $800 million from the World Bank to help cushion the potential effects of fuel subsidy removal due to be implemented in June this year.

The country’s minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, told reporters in the capital Abuja that the cash will be used to help an estimated 50 million less privileged Nigerians from 10 million households.

The government hopes this will boost its Social Investment Programme – an initiative under which it gives out cash to the elderly and other vulnerable people.

But the minister said “we also have to raise more resources to enable us do more than just the cash transfers’’ but to also make other things easier like transport.

Nigeria is one of the top oil producers in the world producing roughly two million barrels a day.

But it lacks oil refining capacity forcing it to export crudes and import refined products – a process that increases the cost of fuel.

Over the years, the government has spent billions of dollars annually on fuel subsidies - so that citizens can buy it cheaper prices.

But there have been controversies and allegations of corruption in the scheme and attempts in the past to scrap the subsidies caused outrage in the country.

President Muhammadu Buhari is due to step down on May 29, and the fuel subsidy problem would be one of the challenges awaiting incoming president Bola Tinubu.

TRT Afrika and agencies