The Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) says setting up filling stations across Nigeria’s borders and neighbouring countries would not contain smuggling of petroleum products.
NNPC Group Managing Director, Mele Kyari said this Wednesday while responding to the recent recommendations made by the Comptroller General of the Customs Service, Hameed Ali when he appeared before the House of Representatives Committee on Finance during its ongoing hearing on 2022 to 2024 Medium-Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and Fiscal Strategy Paper (FSP).
He said those who engage in the smuggling of fuel across borders were not looking for products that are sold at official prices, but rather interested in cutting corners to make gains.
He said, “I have also seen the recommendations by my elder brother, the Comptroller General of Customs, that we should go and establish fuel stations at our borders to contain smuggling.
“Mr chairman, the people who are smuggling are not looking for official prices of petroleum products, unfortunately. So, when you go ahead across the countries and establish filling stations, except you are going to sell it at 162, everybody will come to you.
“So, as long as you are going to sell it in their markets, it is the same reason that is bringing them here to smuggle.”
But reacting, the chairman of the committee, James Faleke said, “It (fuel) is N300 per litre across the border. If you establish and sell it at 175, they will come to you”.
However, Kyari said, “Mr chairman, at the risk of being repetitive, the people who take these products across the border will not sell at the official price; if they buy here at 162 and the official price of say, in Niger is N400, I don’t know what the price is, N400 a litre is what you will buy at the filling stations.
“So, when you establish a filling station, you must sell at N400. Some of our people who come from Katsina as we can see here, people hardly go to filling stations to buy fuel in Niger. So, it is off the counter.
“We have thought of this. As a matter of fact, we are already engaging the National Oil Company of Niger in particular, to open NNPC Retail Filling Stations, but we are also conscious of the very fact that it can be a bad business because you are going to compete with the people.
“The moment you exit the regulated environment, it will be good business, otherwise, I don’t think establishing filling stations will curtail this smuggling.”
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