The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on Monday said Nigeria spent $36.3 billion on the importation of petroleum products between 2013 and 2017.
The apex bank made the disclosure at a public hearing organised by House of Representativesâ€™ Ad hoc Committee investigating the state of the nationâ€™s refineries, their turn-around maintenance to date and regular/modular licensed refineries.
The Director of Research, CBN, Ganiyu Amao, who represented the bank, said the fuel importation figure was part of 119.41 billion dollars the federal government spent on importation of commodities during the period.
Amao said that efforts by the bank to intervene in foreign exchange market were usually curtailed by excessive outflow of foreign exchange.
According to him, the trend had exerted undue pressure on the nationâ€™s external reserve and induced depreciation of the naira.
â€œData from CBN shows that from 2013 to 2017, total foreign exchange committed to imports in the country stood at $119.41 billion, while total foreign exchange committed to imports in oil sector stood at $36.37 billion.
â€œThis represents 13.5 per cent of all imports made by the country.
â€œIt greatly exerts serious pressure on our external reserve and depreciates the value of our local currency,â€ he said.
Amao also disclosed that domestic consumption of fuel rose from 4.5 million metric tonnes to 23.9 million metric tonnes in 2013 and dropped to 2.6 million metric tonnes in 2016.
He said the CBN favoured a policy that compelled International Oil Companies (IOCs) to refine at least half of the crude that they produced for domestic consumption.
Earlier, the committee had directed the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to provide relevant information on the turn-around maintenance of refineries in the country.
The Chairman of the committee, Datti Muhammad (Kaduna-APC), according to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), expressed dismay that some stakeholders attempted to frustrate the investigation by refusing to avail the committee of information needed to aid the probe.
He said: â€œOnly a few organisations and individuals have complied with the committeeâ€™s request for documents and memoranda as many are bent on frustrating the investigation.
â€œThe committee derives its authority to conduct this probe from the resolution referred to it in line with the provisions of the Constitution.
â€œAnd this committee will not hesitate to evoke relevant provisions of our laws with a view to obtaining compliance from parties required to make inputs and providing information,â€™â€™ Muhammed said.
In his submission, Chief Operating Officer, NNPC, Anibor Kragha, said instead of turn-around maintenance, the refineries required comprehensive rehabilitation.
According to him, while the turn-around maintenance is supposed to take place every two years, many of the refineries have seen irregular maintenance.