THERE is no realistic figure on the actual volume of Premium Motor Spirit, popularly called petrol, consumed in the country or smuggled out of Nigeria, the Federal Government has said.
It explained that this was one of the major reasons for the removal of subsidy on PMS, and that the downstream arm of the oil and gas sector was too frowzy with respect to fuel subsidy.
The Special Adviser to the President on Economic Affairs, Tope Fasua, disclosed this in an interview with Sunday PUNCH on the sidelines of an event organised by the Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
He said, “This is in terms of how much fuel do Nigerians use on a daily basis, how much is being smuggled out or not smuggled out; all those things that we were never able to come to any conclusion on. So, whether it was 10,000 trucks that were stolen from Nigeria or 100, or whatever, there was no agreement.
“The Customs say it is not possible and I also think it is not possible to take that number of trucks out of this country on a daily basis. And I actually don’t quite agree that Nigeria was feeding the whole of Africa.”
Fasua pointed out that “some neighbours of ours are police states, and you probably may not be able to carry about 50 trucks through those countries as a smuggler, unofficially; they will lock you down. But it is what it is. For when there is so much uncertainty around something, you create room for all sorts of shenanigans to happen.”
The presidential adviser, however, stated that as of the time of PMS subsidy, Nigeria’s petrol was sold at N198/litre, which was lower than what obtained in other African countries, and that fuel subsidy needed to go.
On Thursday, the Nigeria Customs Service confirmed that Nigeria’s petrol was still being smuggled out of the country, adding that its findings showed that the quality and price of Nigeria petrol were key factors causing the persistent smuggling of PMS out of the country.
The acting Comptroller-General of Customs, Adewale Adeniyi, who disclosed this in Abuja, however, stated that the amount of smuggled petrol was reducing.
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