Comptroller-General of Nigeria Customs Service, Col. Hameed Ali (retd.), has said that the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited cannot justify the volume of Premium Motor Spirit (petrol) being consumed in the country daily to warrant the over N6.34tn subsidy payment on the commodity annually.
Ali said this when asked about the like deficit of between N11tn and 12tn in the 2023 budget as proposed in the 2023-2025 MTEF/FSP, during a presentation to the House of Representatives’ Committee on Finance at the continued hearing on the proposed 2023-2025 Medium Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper in Abuja on Thursday September 1.
The Customs Boss averred that NNPC cannot scientifically prove the 98 million litres/day consumption it was claiming. He also said that the nation’s oil company was supplying an excess of 38 million litres of PMS daily.
“I remember that last year we spoke about this. Unfortunately, this year, we are talking about subsidy again. The over N11tn we are going to take as debt, more than half of it is going for subsidy. The issue is not about smuggling of petroleum products. I have always argue this with NNPC.
“If we are consuming 60 million litres of PMS per day, by their own computation, why would you allow the release of 98 million litres per day? If you know this is our consumption, why would you allow that release? Scientifically, you cannot tell me that if I fill my tank today, tomorrow, I will fill the same tank with the same quantity of fuel. If I am operating a fuel station today and I go to Minna depot, lift petrol and take it to Kaduna, I may get to Kaduna in the evening and offload that fuel. There is no way I would have sold off that petrol immediately to warrant another load. So, how did you get to 60 million litre per day? That is my problem.
“The issue of smuggling: if you release 98 million litre in actual and 60 million litres is used, the balance should be 38 million litres. How many trucks will carry 38 million litres every day? Which road are they following and where are they carrying this thing to?”
Commenting on the disclosure, the Committee’s Deputy Chairman, Saidu Abdullahi, who presided over the hearing, decried that funds under the subsidy scheme, which should have been used to finance capital projects, are being diverted into private pockets.