Nigeria spends N766.1bn on fuel importation in 6 months

Nigeria spent a total sum of N766.1 billion to import Petrol in half-year 2019 as against N1.4 trillion spent in the same period of 2018, latest data released by the National Bureau of Statistics has shown.

According to the latest report, this represents a 46.7% decline spending on petrol importation.

A quick look into the volume of petrol importation in Nigeria shows that 10.46 billion litres was imported in 2018, while 10.48 billion litres of Petrol was imported in the first half of 2019. This means the value remained relatively the same, while values dropped significantly.

The foreign trade report further shows that Petrol importation accounted for 14.4% of the total value of goods imported into the country in the second quarter of 2019.

Over the years, Petrol has been Nigeria’s top import item that has gulped trillions of the country’s revenue. Basically, this has become worrisome as refineries in the country have been grounded with little or no improvement. What is, however of note, is the reduction in the total amount spent to import Petrol.

While the expenditure spent on importing petrol into the country has dropped significantly, petrol importation and subsidy payment remain endemic issues of the Nigerian economy.

In an attempt to stifle importation of certain goods into the country, the Federal Government restricted FOREX access for 43 items. Meanwhile, in its latest move, the Nigeria-Benin Border was shut, and some analysts were of the opinion that the shut border might expose some fraud behind Petrol importation in the country.

Speaking recently on the development, the Chief Executive of Financial Derivatives Company Limited, Bismarck Rewane, disclosed that since the border was closed, all petrol tanks were full and saturated. According to him, Nigeria hardly consumes 30 million litres per day.

“Since we closed the borders, all the tanks are full and saturated with petrol, which means we don’t consume 60 million litres a day of fuel. We hardly consumer 30 million litres. That fraud and fallacy called 60 million litres of which part of it goes outside the country and the other half does not even come in, and people get money at N305 and bring it back, that scam must stop,” Rewane stated.

Affirming Rewane’s claims, NNPC boss, Malam Kyari has also disclosed that the drop in fuel petrol evacuation at depots across the country may not be unconnected to the shut borders.

“Significant drop in PMS evacuation from fuel depots noted since August 22nd may be connected to border closure and other interventions of the security agencies aimed at curbing smuggling. We will contain smuggling of PMS,” Kyari stated.

In the meantime, while the government is bent on keeping the borders shut, it suggests expenditure on petrol importation may decline more drastically at the end of the third quarter.