Marketers and industry experts are getting worried over rise in consumption of petrol in the country, linking it to diversion and smuggling of products which occur around border areas.
Recently, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) said smuggling across the borders increased the consumption of premium motor spirit, better known as petrol, to 102 million litres per day.
Mele Kyari, group managing director of NNPC, disclosed this at a stakeholders meeting on strategies to curb the twin menace of petroleum products smuggling and crude oil theft which is negatively impacting the nation’s economy.
Kyari said the corporation was collaborating with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Department of State Services (DSS), Nigeria Police Force (NPF), Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, NSCDC, and other relevant security agencies to tackle the smuggling problem.
“We all agree that smuggling is not a business that should be condoned because even for deregulated petroleum products, it brings extra cost burden on this country both in terms of safety and security of supply and in securing of foreign exchange,” a statement by Kennie Obateru, NNPC spokesman, quoted Kyari to have said.
Data has shown that average Daily PMS Imported and Consumed in Nigeria in February 2021 was 50 million litres, while the average Daily PMS Imported and Consumed in Nigeria in May 2021 was 103million litres.
But experts argue that between Chad, Niger, Cameroon, Togo and Benin Republic, the daily petrol consumption in these countries are not more than 8.6million litres.
According to a break down, Cameroon consumes 4.6million litres; Niger 1.034million, Benin Republic 1.031million, Chad 00,000 and Togo 1.03million.
The NNPC lamented the escalating incidence of petrol smuggling across Nigeria’s borders, which it places at a whopping 42 million litres per day.
The Corporation said the unbridled smuggling has increased Nigeria’s estimated daily consumption of 60 million litres to 102 million litres.
With the menace now gaining more momentum and illegal dealers more daring, the NNPC stated that the subsidy that the government pays on petrol every month, in order to keep the pump price of petrol stable at N162 per litre now hovers between N140 billion and N150 billion.
Speaking on the issue, the national President of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, IPMAN, Elder Chinedu Okoronkwo, said the Association has taken critical steps to curb the menace but is not getting the desired cooperation from key agencies of government.
Okoronkwo recalled that the current partnership being sought by the NNPC with security agencies should have been tailored towards strengthening existing cooperation the Association had sought long ago.