The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation on Tuesday said it had imported 9.8 million metric tonnes of Premium Motor Spirit, popularly known as petrol, worth $5.8bn to combat the fuel crisis that resurfaced late last year.
The Group Managing Director, NNPC, Maikanti Baru, disclosed this at a public hearing organised by the Senate Committee on Public Accounts at the National Assembly Complex in Abuja.
In a presentation by the GMD, who was represented by the Chief Operating Officer, Finance and Accounts, Abdulrazaq Isiaka, the oil firm stated that it carried out the massive importation in fulfilment of its statutory role as supplier of last resort to ensure that Nigerians would not suffer as a result of product unavailability.
Baru was quoted in a statement issued by the spokesperson of the NNPC, Ndu Ughamadu, as saying that the provision of 9.8 million metric tonnes of petrol had helped a great deal in ameliorating the suffering of Nigerians.
He said the corporation’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.
The GMD, however, pointed out that cross-border smuggling due to price disparity between Nigeria and neighbouring countries, where a litre of petrol was selling above N350 per litre as well as logistics in trucking products to different locations across the country, remained serious challenges in the quest for no queue situation in the country.