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Daily fuel consumption hits 72.72m litres, marketers blame smuggling..price increase looms

The supply of Premium Motor Spirit (petrol) by the NNPC, which is the sole importer of the product into the country, has risen above the pre-COVID-19 levels, crossing 70 million litres daily in the fourth quarter of last year.

The corporation said last Thursday that 2.25 billion litres of petrol were sold and distributed in December. This translates to 72.72 million litres per day, compared to 57.44 million litres in November.

It said 2.26 billion litres of petroleum products were sold and distributed by its subsidiary Petroleum Products Marketing Company in December, compared to 1.72 billion litres in November.

Petrol supply by the NNPC jumped to 77.17 million litres daily in October from 52.63 million litres in September and 63.27 million litres in January 2020, according to NNPC data obtained by our correspondent.

Prior to the regime of the President, Muhammadu Buhari, the country’s petrol consumption was estimated at between 35 million to 40 million litres daily.

As recent as February 8, 2018, the NNPC in a statement put the country’s petrol consumption level at 35 million litres daily.

In June last year, the Group Managing Director of the NNPC, Mele Kyari, at an interactive hearing organised by the Joint Senate Committee on Petroleum Resources (Upstream and Downstream), said petrol was being smuggled out of Nigeria to neighbouring countries.

He said, “We don’t know how much petroleum products we consume daily in this country, but we know how much of the product that is taken out of depot.

“This year, around 54 million litres of petroleum products are evacuated from the depot daily, but the consumption is somewhere below that.

About 30 per cent of the country’s petrol supply was going to neighbouring countries.

Over there, petrol is being sold between maybe N300 and N500 per litre, and you insist on selling yours at N160, it means for anybody that can get any quantity across, he will be making N150 per litre.

“That incentive is too much; it will always be attractive for people to do that. In all those countries, they are paying the real price of fuel; unlike in Nigeria, where the price is being subsidised.”

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