The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation on Tuesday said it had imported 9.8 million metric tonnes of Premium Motor Spirit, popularly known as petrol, worth $5.8bn to combat the fuel crisis that resurfaced late last year.
The Group Managing Director, NNPC, MaikantiBaru, disclosed this at a public hearing organised by the Senate Committee on Public Accounts at the National Assembly Complex in Abuja.
But despite Baru’s claim, the queues for petrol in the Federal Capital Territory and neighbouring states grew longer on Tuesday.
In a presentation by the GMD, who was represented by the Chief Operating Officer, Finance and Accounts, Abdulrazaq Isiaka, the oil firm stated that it carried out the massive importation in fulfilment of its statutory role as supplier of last resort to ensure that Nigerians would not suffer as a result of product unavailability.
Baru was quoted in a statement issued by the spokesperson of the NNPC, Ndu Ughamadu, as saying that the provision of 9.8 million metric tonnes of petrol had helped a great deal in ameliorating the suffering of Nigerians.
He said the corporation’s intervention became necessary following the inability of the major and independent marketers to import the product because of the high landing cost, which made cost recovery and profitability difficult owing to the regulated price regime.
The GMD, however, pointed out that cross-border smuggling due to price disparity between Nigeria and neighbouring countries, where a litre of petrol was selling above N350 per litreas well as logistics in trucking products to different locations across the country, remained serious challenges in the quest for no queue situation in the country.
The Chairman, Senate Committee on Public Accounts, Senator Matthew Uroghide, noted that the public hearing was part of the committee’s duty to find lasting solutions to the problem of fuel scarcity in order to make life easy for all Nigerians.
Meanwhile, the National Bureau of Statistics on Tuesday released the Petroleum Products Importation Report for 2017, with the country said to have imported 17.31 billion litres of Premium Motor Spirit or petrol in the period.
The bureau stated in the report that was made available to our correspondent in Abuja that 4.28 billion litres of Automotive Gas Oil, 340.33 million litres of household kerosene, 592.73 million litres of Aviation Turbine Kerosene and 15.61 million litres of Low Pour Fuel Oil were imported into the country in 2017.
The report stated that the months of July and August recorded the highest volumes of PMS imported into the country at 1.88 billion litres, while the highest volume of AGO and household kerosene were imported in March and April 2017, respectively.
The report read in part, “The petroleum products’ importation statistics for 2017 reflected that 17.31 billion litres of Premium Motor Spirit, 4.28 billion litres of Automotive Gas Oil, 340.33 million litres of household kerosene, 592.73 million litres of Aviation Turbine Kerosene and 15.61 million litres of Low Pour Fuel Oil were imported into the country in 2017.
“State-wide distribution of truck-out volume for 2017 showed that 18.36 billion litres of Premium Motor Spirit, 4.75 billion litres of Automotive Gas Oil, 944.39 million litres of household kerosene, 554.61 million litres of Aviation Turbine Kerosene and 127.42 million litres of Low Pour Fuel Oil were distributed nationwide during the period under review.”
The NBS had in the PMS price watch released last week stated that on the average, Nigerians paid the sum of N190.9 per litre to buy petrol in January.
This, is about N46 per litre higher than the official pump price of the product.