The Nigeria National Company Limited (NNPC Ltd) has revealed that Cameroon, Benin, Niger and Mali rely on smuggled petroleum products from Nigeria’s borders.
Umar Ajia, the chief financial officer of NNPC Limited, made the statement when he appeared before a House of Representatives committee investigating Nigeria’s fuel subsidy regime on Monday.
Mr Ajia claimed that neighbouring countries prefer purchasing smuggled subsidised petrol from Nigeria rather than importing fuel into their countries.
He added that anyone can smuggle trucks of petroleum products through the Nigerian borders with as little as N5 million
“If you have five million naira, you can cross the borders with trucks laden with PMS, that is the bitter truth, we have porous borders; yes we have Customs but I do not know,” he said.
“PMS crosses everywhere, to Cameroon through the North East, Nigerian PMS gets to Mali; our neighbouring countries hardly import PMS; infact, some of them do not have the LC cover to back up imports.
“Cameroon refinery got burnt sometime last year or so, since that time, they have not imported PMS but they are still using PMS; if you go to Niger, you find that PMS is sold in bottles.
“To them, it is a cheaper source, why waste their foreign exchange, so we are subsidising our neighbours, that is the simple truth,” Mr Ajia added.
Meanwhile, Mr Ajia said that the Nigerian government spends N209 on every petrol litre as subsidy.
He noted that the 66.7 million daily consumption is based on the truck out from the depot, adding that the NNPC and government agencies are unaware of the precise daily consumption in Nigeria.
“States that consume the most are states like Oyo and Ogun State, they even consume more than Lagos State. So you wonder, is it that they have more vehicles than Lagos?
“This explains that these are states with porous borders and that will explain why this bulk evacuation is going out of Oyo and Ogun states, probably neighbouring countries,” he said.
He said the board of NNPC has extended the Direct Sale and Direct Purchase Agreement with the marketers to avoid fuel shortage during the Christmas and New Year period.