Nigeria lost no less than N8.3 billion on smuggled premium motor spirit (PMS) also known as petrol at the current pump price of N162 per litre, figures released by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has shown.
NNPC, on Tuesday put the consumption of PMS at 103 million litres per day in the month of May.
However, minister of state for petroleum, Timipre Sylva, at a stakeholders’ meeting at the instance of the NNPC, stated that current figure of petrol consumption was 52 million litres, thus raising the fear that 51 million litres have been imported into the country then smuggled to neighbouring countries in the Month of May alone.
Speaking on how to best to stop smuggling in the country, on Tuesday, Sylva said “When I first came in as minister, I was informed that the daily consumption in the country was around 60 to 62 million litres a day, which to me sounded a little bit outrageous considering the number of cars we have on the road”.
“But somehow, the figures, I understand today have come down to around 52 million litres, may be the number of vehicles have suddenly reduced, but you will agree with me that something is wrong that is why the tracking of trucks loading products is essential for us to move forward on this issue of subsidy removal,’’ the minister said.
Sylva added that illegal export of products through the borders whether the land or sea must be stopped, adding that operation white that was commissioned in 2020 had not worked effectively until the EFCC came into the picture.
The minister, who sought an end to the smuggling to the smuggling of PMS at the meeting attended by the officials of the Petroleum Equalisation Fund (PEF), Petroleum Product Pricing a Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), stated that whatever plans in the area of deregulation will not make sense without determining the actual consumption of PMS.
“I believe that with the EFCC in the picture, I think that the system will work better and know that Petroleum Equalisation Fund, is also working on product tracking arrangement.
For me, I am happy to see that the EFCC is working with us and if we can get this right, I think our movement toward deregulation will be better assured,’’ he said