By Michael Eboh
ABUJA—THE Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, yesterday, said since the fuel crisis resurfaced across the country late last year, it has spent $5.8 billion (about N1.8 trillion) to import 9.8 million metric tonnes of Premium Motor Spirit, PMS, to tackle the scarcity.
Group Managing Director of the NNPC, Mr. Maikanti Baru, stated this during a public hearing by the Senate Committee on Public Accounts at the National Assembly complex.
Baru, who was represented by the Chief Operating Officer, Finance and Accounts, Mr. Abdulrazaq Isiaka, said the NNPC carried out the massive importation in fulfilment of its statutory role of supplier of last resort to ensure Nigerians didn’t suffer as a result of product unavailability.
According to Baru, the NNPC’s provision of 9.8 million metric tons of petrol so far has helped a great deal in ameliorating the sufferings of Nigerians.
He said the NNPC’s intervention became necessary, following the inability of the major and independent marketers to import the product because of the high landing cost which made cost recovery and profitability difficult owing to the regulated price regime.
While assuring the public of adequate product supply, Baru, however, pointed out that cross-border smuggling due to price disparity between Nigeria and neighbouring countries where a litre of petrol sells above N350 per litre as well as logistic issues in trucking products to different locations across the country remained serious challenges in the quest for fuel queue-free situation in the country.
Also speaking, Chairman, Senate Committee on Public Accounts, Senator Matthew Uroghide, noted that the public hearing was a part of the committee’s duty to find lasting solutions to the problem of fuel scarcity in order to make life easy for all Nigerians.