September 02, (THEWILL) – The Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) has faulted claims by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) Limited that Nigerians consume about 60 million litres of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), commonly known as petrol, daily.
Hamid Ali, Comptroller General of Customs, refuted the claims when he appeared before the House of Representatives Committee on Finance for interaction on Medium Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper, MTEF/FSP 2023-2025, on Thursday.
Responding to a question on what efforts the Customs is making to address reported smuggling of PMS, a development the NNPC blamed as being responsible for the huge amount paid for subsidy, Ali, on Thursday, described the subsidy regime as non-existing.
Ali, who stressed that such a figure was not feasible, said unless the NNPC is saying that Nigerians fill the tank of their cars everyday, there is no way 60 million litres of fuel can be consumed daily without the figure changing.
He said the most worrisome aspect of the subsidy payment is that NNPC Limited claims that it lifts an average of 98 million litres of fuel per day, while 60 million is consumed on daily basis by Nigerians.
Ali said if it is assumed that NNPC was correct that the daily consumption was 60 million litres, and it supplies 98 million litres daily, questions needed to be answered whether all vehicle owners in Nigeria buy full tank capacity of the product daily, and that how could 38 million litres, which is the differential between the estimated consumption and the supplied quantity, requiring at least 500 trucks to load, be moved out of the country on daily basis.
“I have always argued this with NNPC. If we are consuming 60 million litres of petrol per day by their own computation, why in the world would you allow the lifting of 98 million litres per day?
“That computation, to me, is not believable, because scientifically you cannot tell me that if I fill my tank today, tomorrow I will fill my tank with the same quantity of fuel. And if I’m running a petrol station today, if I go to Minna depot and lift, and I’m taking to Kaduna, I may reach Kaduna in the evening and offload that product; there’s no way I could have sold that petrol for you to account that that has been expended.
“So how do we get to 60 million everyday? If you say this petrol is smuggled, if you release 98 million litres, and then we use 60 million litres, the balance will be 38 million litres. How many trucks will carry 38 million litres? Everyday. That’s almost 500. Which road are they following? Where are they carrying this thing to?”
“The issue is not the smuggling of petroleum. Payment of fuel subsidy is not sustainable, we have to find a lasting solution to that”, he said.
Agreeing with the CG’s assertions, deputy chairman of the committee, Saidu Musa Abdullahi, who anchored the session said, “I think as a government, we’re not doing well.”
Ali further told the lawmakers that the Service has generated the sum of N1.167 trillion as of July this year and that it has projected to generate the sum of N2.872 trillion in 2023 fiscal year.
According to Ali, Customs has also projected to generate the sum of N3.54 trillion and N3.752 trillion in 2024 and 2025 respectively, adding that all the monies it generated this year have been paid into the Federation Accounts.
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