The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has revealed that it was subsidising the supply of petrol to the tune of N774 million every day, given the landing cost of the imported fuel and the regulated pump price in the domestic market.
The revelation was brought to light on Sunday, barely a few days after the corporation turned down a freedom of information request by Femi Falana, human rights lawyer, on how much the government was spending on subsidy.
The NNPC also said that the benefit of this costly subsidy to the national treasury is being enjoyed by only a few as well as in neighbouring countries on the account of the continued smuggling of the fuel across the borders.
The NNPC Group Managing Director, Maikanti Baru, has also pleaded with the comptroller general of the Nigerian Customs Service, Hameed Ali, a retired colonel, to help check the proliferation of fuel stations in communities with international land and coastal borders across the country.
He said it had energised unprecedented cross-border smuggling of petrol to neighboring countries, making it difficult to sanitise the fuel supply and distribution matrix in the country.
“NNPC is concerned that continued cross-border smuggling of petrol will deny Nigerians the benefit of the Federal Government’s benevolence of keeping a fix retail price of N145 per litre despite the increase in PMS open market price above N171 per litre,’’ an NNPC statement quoted Baru saying during a visit at the weekend to the customs chief.
“Based on the heightened petrol consumption rate of 50 million litre per day, the corporation was incurring an under-recovery of N774 million every day.”