Chineme Okafor in Abuja
The Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Malam Mele Kyari, Sunday disclosed that the volume of petrol evacuated from depots in the country for consumption has dropped significantly.
In his verified twitter handle @MKKyari, he observed that the drop in petrol evacuation from the depots may have been influenced by Nigeria’s closure of its borders with Benin Republic in August.
The country had recently closed its western border with Benin partially to curb rice smuggling, which it said, was threatening the government’s attempt to boost local production.
President Muhammadu Buhari reportedly said he would hold a meeting with Benin, the country’s northern neighbours, to determine measures to check smuggling across the borders, and that the closure was limited to allow security forces stem the trend of rice smuggling.
Similarly, the NNPC had complained of the impact of incessant smuggling of the country’s fuel which is heavily subsidised.
The corporation had overtime said that the activities of smugglers were responsible for the daily petrol consumption volumes which have gone beyond the routine national consumption figure of 35 million litres.
The daily consumption volume had once shot up to 60 million litres per day.
But in his tweet, Kyari said: “Significant drop in PMS evacuation from fuel depots noted since August 22nd. May be connected to border closure and other interventions of the security agencies aimed at curbing smuggling. We will contain smuggling of PMS.”
A recent report from the NNPC indicated that between June 2018 and June 2019, the corporation imported 20,898,453,347.24 litres of petrol for consumption, out of which an average of 44,366,781.77 litres were consumed daily in June 2018; 39,154,764.15 litres in July; 54,144,365.76 litres daily in August of the same year, and 55,499,192.80 litres daily in September 2018.
The corporation also said that between October and December 2018, the country’s daily petrol consumption level was 56,516,386.60 litres; 53,996,261.10 litres; and 58,172,467.58 litres respectively.
The daily consumption figures rose to 65,938,603.99 litres in January 2019 but dropped to 56,855,696.76 litres in February of same year, before heading down to 30,988,903.59 litres in March 2019.
In April 2018, it rose again to 63,334,876.75 litres and further to 67,606,434.87 litres in May before declining to 53,093,286.55 litres in June.
A World Bank report had stated that Nigeria spent N731 billion to subsidise petrol consumption, a figure which was inflated.
The June 2019 operations report of the corporation indicated that over a period of one year, the NNPC incurred a total of N718.774 billion on under recovery – a term it uses to describe the cost of subsidising petrol consumption in the country.