The World Bank has said based on its estimates, at least N150 billion is spent monthly on petroleum subsidies, and about N1.8 trillion annually.
It said this could be channelled to financing primary health care, education, security and other developmental issues.
Mr Shubham Chaudhuri, Country Director for Nigeria, Africa Region, stated this when he visited the management of Media Trust Limited, publishers of Daily Trust, other titles and Trust TV in Abuja on Thursday.
He advised Nigeria to remove subsidies from petroleum and electricity saying it will free up funds to be invested in other critical areas of the economy while subsidy removal on electricity will attract investors.
He said the N150bn deducted by the NNPC as subsidy should have gone into the federation account as revenue for developmental projects.
Chaudhuri said the subsidy regime only subsidised the rich and the economy of neighbouring countries like Niger Republic.
He said the price of fuel in Nigeria is cheaper than its neighbours’ hence those who take the product across the borders benefit the most.
“The majority of the poor don’t benefit as much from the subsidy” compared to those who have ‘many cars’ or who take fuel across the neighbouring states.
The WB country director lauded the apex bank for collapsing the dual exchange rate, saying that action has ended arbitrage in the foreign exchange (forex) market.
Mr. Chaudhuri said the bank’s role is advisory and doesn’t impose their opinions on Nigerian authorities.
He further indicated that based on their analysis, the per capita income of a Nigerian today is the same as in 1990, adding that the subsidy funds can be used to improve the lot of Nigerians.