The ongoing partial border closure ordered by the federal government is saving the government over 10 million litres of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), better known as petrol, according to a recent report by “Exercise Swift Response.”
The closure which had brought about a tremendous success in the restriction of free movement across Nigerian borders by curtailing disorderly acts, has also come with equal measure of agony to citizens because it poses serious threats to other genuine businesses.
According to the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) the border restriction has achieved a lot, in addition to the borders now being fully secured, while smuggling has been reduced to the barest minimum.
The Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) had also maintained that prior to the closure of the borders, the country’s daily consumption of petrol was approximately 61 million litres, which has now reduced to 51.7 million as indicated in its latest figures, which was obtained between September 9 and 15.
The spokesman of the agency, Kimchi Apollo, who disclosed this in Abuja, Saturday, said, “according to statistics, figures recorded from various depots nationwide for the 5th to 11thAugust 2019 was about 61 million litres, representing the average volume trucked out before the border closure.”
Apollo, who is also the General Manager, Corporate Services of PPPRA, added that the agency observed that from the statistics obtained between August 12 and 18, 2019, a drop of about 35 percent in volume trucked out from the previous week was noticed, which could be attributed to the reduction in activities of various facilities during the Sallah holiday.
However, he added that from August 19 to 25, 2019, which falls within the period the borders were partially closed, the agency recorded an average daily truck out figure of about 57 million litres, which fell below the daily average figure for the week 5 to 11 August 2019.
“Similarly, from August 26 to September 1, 2019, 371.82 million litres of petrol was trucked out, averaging a daily figure of 53 million litres. This represents a decline of about four million litres when compared to the previous week.
“Available data from the Agency indicates that the downward trend continued from September 2 to 8. The daily average truck out figure for that week was 50.22 million litres, indicating a further reduction of 2.9 million litres.
However, there was a slight increment to 51.7 million from the September 9 to 15, 2019,” he explained.
Apollos said the high truck-out volume recorded before the partial closure of the borders could be attributed to the seepage of petroleum products across the borders, coupled with the widening fuel price arbitrage with neighbouring West African countries.
Said he: “While the downward trend in the consumption pattern is a welcome development, the agency assures stakeholders that efforts are being made not only to curb smuggling of products, but also to ensure that petroleum products are available in the country.”
The landing cost of petrol in Nigeria reportedly stands at N180 per litre, that is N35 higher than the pump price of N145 per litre.
When put in context of the landing cost, Nigeria may be saving as much as N1.98b (approximately N2b) daily on account of the PMS, which would have been smuggled out.
Similarly, the development translates to about N385m worth of subsidy, which is being lost to neighbouring West African countries daily.
While the country, according to industry statistics, was consuming about 35 million litres of petrol per day two years ago, the figure jumped up and soon hit 65 million litres per day.
The NNPC had insisted that high consumption was due to activities of smugglers and that the product was being smuggled to as far as Burkina Faso, Mali, and Cote d’Ivoire because of the price differences.