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The National Executive Council (NEC) has directed the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation NNPC and Ministry of Finance to undertake an audit exercise to determine the actual daily consumption of petrol in Nigeria, the NNPC has disclosed.

NNPC’s Chief Operating Officer, Downstream, Mr. Henry Ikem-Obih, said on Wednesday while speaking at the 2018 edition of the annual Nigeria Oil and Gas (NOG) Conference and Exhibition in Abuja, that the audit study would also include inputs from the World Bank.

Ikem-Obih, equally stated that irrespective of the current high cost of fuel import, the country’s refineries were currently selling petrol at N103 per litre.

While responding to questions on the current consumption level of the country, he noted that the country’s daily fuel consumption was currently not known because of a number of factors which he said included smuggling and the various consumption pattern of the commodity among Nigerians.

“We are presently in a joint project with the Federal Ministry of Finance. We are doing a study around consumption, to determine the actual consumption by the people. We have to determine what we call the daily load out or the evacuation, as against the actual consumption; what people go to the pump every day to buy for their cars, for their generators at home and for other uses of PMS,” said Ikem-Obih.

He explained that in terms of daily truck out from depots around the country and the records of the Petroleum Product Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) and Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), the NNPC trucked out 48 million litres daily in 2016 and 50 million litres in 2017.

According to him: “This is why the National Economic Council has mandated that we work with the Federal Ministry of Finance. We also had meeting with the World Bank about six weeks ago, and we are trying to progress in a global study that would help us get around the actual numbers of what we consume in Nigeria.”

“But again, one significant challenge is the fact that we have cross-border smuggling. Nigeria remains the cheapest source of PMS in the West African sub-region. All our neighbouring countries are selling at over 200 per cent high of the price that we pay at the pump.

“If you go to Niger, Cameroun, then it is in the 400 per cent region; for the rest of the countries, it is about N360 to N370, as against the N145 per litre that we sell. That is sufficient incentives for those who want to take the product across the border to sell and make a good margin,” he added.

Continuing, he said: “What that means if we do a complete study today, that is focused on actually tracking the sub-groups that Nigeria buy fuel from, we would still have a margin of error that is significant. This is because the volume that leaves Nigeria through the borders cannot be reported in accuracy today.

“However, the NNPC is working closely with the Customs, with the DSS, with other security agencies and things have improved significantly.”

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