No scientific evidence to support Mele Kyari’s NNPC 98mlpd PMS claim  – Customs DG

Oredola Adeola

The Comptroller-General of Nigeria Customs Service, Col. Hameed Ali (retd.), has expressed a verdict  of ‘ No Confidence’ in the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited NNPC on the issue of petroleum fuel subsidy, claiming that the Corporation cannot scientifically prove the 98 million litres/day volume of Premium Motor Spirit (petrol) claims.

The Customs Boss made this revelation in his 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, on Thursday, in Abuja.

According to him the NNPC is importing an excess of 38 million litres of PMS daily and does not have the moral justification to defend the over N6.34tn subsidy payment it was quoting for 2023.

When asked to react on the deficit of between N11tn and 12tn in the 2023 budget as proposed in the 2023-2025 MTEF/FSP, the Customs CG said,  “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?

“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 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 litres 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,” the Customs Boss explained to the Committee.

Saidu Abdullahi, Deputy Chairman of the Committee, reacting to the Customs DG’s explanation said the petrol subsidy scheme has been draining  Nigeria’s economy.

Abdullahi said, “If there is anything that has constituted nuisance and has become a drain in the economy today, it is this issue of subsidy and as a government, we have not done well. We owe it to the people of this country to do what is right for this country.

”We are talking about over N6 trillion going for subsidy payment that almost doesn’t exist. You talk about 38 million litres which amount to about 500 trucks leaving our shores on daily basis. We have investment in NIGCOMSAT.

”Has there been anytime that our satellite capture images of trucks leaving our shores? I think it is very clear that what is required is the political will to put a halt to that,” the Committee Deputy Chairman said.