Lagos – The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) said on Sunday that based on the heightened petrol consumption rate of 50 million litres per day, the corporation was incurring an under-recovery of N774 million every day.
It also raised the alarm over multiplicity of fuel stations in communities with international land and coastal borders across the country, saying that the development has strengthened unprecedented cross-border smuggling of petrol to neighboring countries, which makes it difficult to sanitise the fuel supply and distribution in the country.
Maikanti Baru, the Group Managing Director of NNPC, who said this when he visited the Comptroller General of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Col. Hameed Ali (rtd), revealed that detailed study conducted by his corporation indicated strong relationship between the presence of the frontier stations and the activities of fuel smuggling syndicates.
He was quoted in a statement as saying that the activities of the smugglers had led to recent observed abnormal surge in the evacuation of petrol from less than 35 million litres per day to more than 60 million litres per day which is in sharp contrast with established national consumption pattern.
He added that 16 states, having amongst them 61 Local Government Areas with border communities, account for 2,201 registered fuel stations.
According to him, the fuel tank had a combined capacity of 144, 998, 700 litres of petrol.
He said eight states with coastal border communities spread across 24 LGAs amongst the states account for 866 registered fuel outlets with combined petrol tank capacity of 73, 443, 086 litres.
He also said a further breakdown of the finding shows that among the states with land border, three LGAs in Ogun State account for 633 fuel stations with combined petrol tankage of 40, 485,000 litres while nine LGAs in Borno State have 337 fuel outlets with combined petrol storage capacity of 21, 114, 480 litres.
Lagos with one LGA as border community has 235 registered fuel stations with total petrol storage facility of 19,916, 600 litres.
On the coastal front, Lagos with six LGAs leads with 487 registered fuel stations with combined in-built storage capacity of 50, 239,560 litres. Akwa Ibom with five LGAs has 134 registered retail outlets with capacity to store 8, 322, 986 litres, while Ondo State with two LGAs has 110 fuel stations with capacity to store 3,871,320 litres.
He explained that due to the obvious differential in petrol price between Nigeria and other neighbouring countries, it had become lucrative for the smugglers to use the frontier stations as a veritable conduit for the smuggling of products across the border, saying this had resulted in a thriving market for Nigerian petrol in all the neighbouring countries of Niger Republic, Benin Republic, Cameroun, Chad and Togo and even Ghana which has no direct borders with Nigeria.
“NNPC is concerned that continued cross-border smuggling of petrol will deny Nigerians the benefit of the Federal Government’s benevolence of keeping a fixed retail price of N145 per litre despite the increase in PMS open market price above N171 per litre,’’ he said.
In his remarks, Col. Ali said the service would work with the corporation to stem the tide of cross-border smuggling of petroleum products, noting that all hands must be on deck to ensure the economic survival of the country.
This article was originally published on www.independent.ng by Mohammed Shosanya.