Different government security outfits operating across the country have recovered stolen oil worth N86.2bn in August, according to The Punch’s findings.
A total of 16,000 litres of diesel valued at N800/litre (N12.8m) were on Monday reported to have been recovered by members of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps in Cross River. Speaking with the media, Rivers State NSCDC Commandant, Samuel Fadeyi, said the stolen products, which were mainly Automotive Gas Oil also known as diesel, were recovered within the last two weeks.
Also, last Wednesday, the Nigeria Customs Service, NCS, Seme Area Command, said it intercepted 3,998 jerry cans of Premium Motor Spirit, PMS, in 30 litres each, equivalent to 119,940 litres. The products, according to the Customs Area Controller, Bello Mohammed Jibo, were about four tanker loads of 33,000 litres each.
The Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority, NMDPRA, recently approved a price of N191 per litre of PMS (highest range). An estimation of how much Nigeria would have lost had the 119, 940 litres made it to the Republic of Benin would have been N161m. The seized petroleum product had a Duty Paid Value of N28.9 million.
Unlike in Nigeria where the Federal Government subsidises petrol, one litre of petrol is currently being sold in the Republic of Benin at N396. If the 119, 940 litres of petrol had arrived safely in the neigbouring country, it would have been sold for at least N47m. The Federal Government spent the sum of N9.84 trn on petrol subsidy between 2006 and 2018 alone. And as at this year, a fresh N4trn has been incurred.
A report by The PUNCH in July had estimated subsidies on petrol at N2trn in seven months. A source close to the matter had hinted that although Nigeria consumed 60 million litres of petrol per month, marketers had been loading up to 106 million litres monthly as of April, bringing total litres of smuggled petrol to 46 million monthly.
Same last week, the Nigerian Navy confirmed the arrest of a supertanker, MV HEROIC IDUN, by Equatorial Guinea forces over alleged crude oil theft in Nigeria. The arrest was made after it fled from Nigeria’s AKPO Oil Field when its activities were uncovered by operatives of the Navy. The supertanker with International Maritime Organisation number, 9858058, had the capacity of 299,995 MT.
Spokesperson for the Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN), Clement Isong, President of the Independent petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, IPMAN, Elder Chinedu Okoronkwo, and the National Operations Controller, Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association of Nigeria, DAPPMAN, Mike Asatuyi, had vindicated their members of being partakers of smuggling of petrol to neighbourhood countries.
“It is definitely not a good thing to use all revenue to service debts, and those debts are coming from subsidies. It is a potential danger for the country. My worry is that what we were avoiding- the suffering and inflation that we were avoiding- by not removing the subsidy will now be worse, because if we get to a point where we find it difficult to service our debts, what it means is that our lenders will charge us more interests because they know we do not have money. Their interests will be much higher, with less revenue to pay salaries. So, from a financial standpoint, it is not good news for Nigeria,” a former chairman of the Major Oil Marketers of Nigeria (MOMAN) Tunji Oyebanji, told The PUNCH when asked about the impact of the Federal Government’s continuous payment of subsidies.