NNPC Group Managing Director, Mele Kyari disclosed this on Wednesday at the interactive session on the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and the Fiscal Strategy Paper (FSP).
The Controller General of Customs, Hammed Ali had informed the committee that he suggested the idea of setting up retail outlets in neighbouring countries to end smuggling.
During the hearing on Wednesday, the Chairman of the Committee, James Faleke had referred to the statement made by the CGC, Hammed Ali.
“The Comptroller-General (CG) of Customs was here and he said that at different fora he had suggested that possibly to curb smuggling, NNPC should liaise with, and establish filling stations across our border countries, and possibly sell at a higher margin to cover the cost.”
Kyari responded that Nigeria is already in talks Niger Republic to establish a retail outlet in order to curb the smuggling of petroleum products across the country’s land borders.
“As a matter of fact, we have thought of this, we are already engaging the national oil company of Niger, in particular, to establish NNPC retail fuel stations in the country but we are also cautious of the very fact that it can be bad business because you are going to compete with the people who are going to come—but will be good business to do. Otherwise, we do not think that establishing fuel stations is the solution to containing smuggling.”
“I have also seen the recommendation by the elder brother, the CG of customs that we should go and establish fuel stations across our borders to contain smuggling.
“The people who are smuggling are not looking for the official price for petroleum product, unfortunately. So when you go ahead across the countries and establish fuel stations, except you are going to sell it at 162, then everybody will come to you. So as long as you are going to sell it at the market — It is the same reason that is bringing them here to smuggle.”
Kyari also said that President Muhammadu Buhari had personally directed him to take the step that would curtail cross-border smuggling, while also admitting the challenges posed by land borders aids activities of smugglers.
The GMD said that those who took crude oil across the border would not sell at the official price, adding that there was an ongoing initiative to electronically monitor petrol distribution across the country. He said an electronic monitor would be put on tanks and fuel stations to monitor them.
He stated that with the electronic monitoring, every truck carrying fuel would be visible as they discharged their load and all the fuel stations would be seen as they discharged.
The NNPC boss stated that the country may not exit the fuel subsidy regime in 2022, but stressed that it would in 2023 when the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) may have been fully activated.
KanyiDaily recalls that President Buhari recently signed the controversial Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) 2021 into law, despite the agitations of host communities.