The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) said yesterday it was losing N774 million daily on petrol sales.
It raised the alarm over proliferation of fuel stations in border and coastal communities across the country.
It insisted that the development has energised cross-border smuggling of petrol to neighbouring countries, making it difficult to sanitise fuel supply and distribution.
The corporation’s Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division, Mr. Ndu Ughamadu, in a statement issued in Abuja yesterday, said the NNPC Managing Director, Dr. Maikanti Baru, spoke when he led a team on a visit to Nigerian Customs Service Comptroller-General Col. Hameed Ali (retd).
Baru presented a pictorial chart portraying Nigeria in the middle selling pump price of petrol at N145, its neighbours: Ghana at N311, Togo (N308), Benin Republic (N292.8), Niger (367), Chad (326.35) and Cameroon at N400 per litre.
“There has been a heightened consumption growth from less than 30 million litres per day in August 2017, to an average of over 500 million litres per day with a peak of 84.2 million litres on December 8, 2017,” he said.
The NNPC GMD said a detailed study conducted by the corporation indicated strong correlation between the presence of the frontier stations and the activities of fuel smuggling syndicates.
He said the activities of the smugglers had led to observed abnormal surge in the evacuation of petrol from less than 35 million litres per day to more than 60 million litres per day, a development he described as in sharp contrast with established national consumption pattern.
Providing a detailed presentation of the findings, the NNPC GMD said 16 states, having among them 61 local government areas (LGAs) with border communities, account for 2,201 registered fuel stations.
The fuel tank, he noted, had a combined capacity of 144,998,700 litres of petrol.
Baru said eight states with coastal border communities spreading across 24 LGAs among the states account for 866 registered fuel outlets with combined petrol tank capacity of 73,443, 086 litres.
A further breakdown of the finding, he added, 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. Nine LGAs in Borno State, he said, have 337 fuel outlets with combined petrol storage capacity of 21,114,480 litres. Lagos with one council as border community has 235 registered fuel stations with total petrol storage facility of 19,916,600 litres, Baru said.
On the coastal front, the NNPC boss claimed that Lagos with six LGAs leads with 487 registered fuel stations with combined in-built storage capacity of 50, 239,560 litres.
Baru added that Akwa Ibom with five LGAs has 134 registered retail outlets with capacity to store 8,322,986 litres and Ondo State with two LGAs has 110 fuel stations with capacity to store 3,871,320 litres.
Welcoming the NNPC GMD and his team to the Customs Headquarters, 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 country’s economic survival.
The Customs boss thanked NNPC GMD for the elaborate data he provided on the fuel supply situation, noting that this would enable the service fashion out the appropriate architecture to combat the menace.
He called on the authorities to tackle the issue of price differentials, which is the underlying motivation for smuggling activities.
But the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) has called on the Federal Government to reimburse the NNPC for expenses the corporation incurred from payment of subsidy to the marketers.
According to PENGASSAN National Public Relations Officer, Comrade Fortune Obi, at the end of its National Executive Council (NEC) meeting in Warri, Delta State, the association said NNPC has continued to shoulder the responsibility of providing products to close gaps created by the withdrawal of other marketers owing to non-payment of subsidy claims from 2015 to 2017.
A communique signed by the PENGASSAN President, Comrade Francis Olabode Johnson and the General Secretary, Comrade Lumumba Okugbawa, stated that the extra burden absorbed by NNPC was depleting the corporation’s finances.