To experts knowledgeable in the importation and distribution of refined petroleum products, especially premium motor spirit, better known as petrol, the insistence by the NNPC that “large scale smuggling” is responsible for the rise in daily consumption of petrol from about 30million litres daily to 60 million litres in just a few months evokes memories of the tale of the snake that was said to have swallowed N36 million cash belonging to JAMB.
It has become the butt of derision among oil companies that Nigerians are being told that smugglers have become the biggest operators in the oil industry. In its weird claim on how consumption of petrol surged overnight, NNPC could not explain the logic in the same number of vehicles, 11.5 million in the second quarter of 2017, that consumed 30 million litres of petrol suddenly skyrocketing to 60 million litres.
We set out to unravel the truth behind the figures being bandied by the NNPC against the backdrop of the empirical consumption pattern not just in Nigeria but also among her neighbours.
Of course, it is no rocket science to determine that moving over 30 million litres of petrol daily out of Nigeria to her neighbours requires a huge logistics that smugglers do not have the capacity to muster. If this huge quantity of product is smuggled across the border daily, NNPC is indirectly telling the nation that plethora of security agencies manning the borders are all compromised. This in an administration that is posting victory against corruption as its major achievement.
However, operators in the industry are not taken in by NNPC’s tales either, but they see a pattern that had been in place in previous administrations as a new election approaches.
It’s a revealing package.
When we repackaged our journal into a weekly publication, we promised you that every edition will be special one. This edition is one that has upped the game. And we intend to make that a tradition.