The Federal Government has put in place measures to check the consumption of 56 million litres of petrol a day, declared by the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA).
The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr Ibe Kachikwu, admitted that the figures have spiked since 2016 when the country consumed 35 million litres a day.
In an exclusive interview on Channels TV’s HardCopy aired on Friday, he disclosed that the government has instituted a quiet audit to monitor every product coming into the country for the first time.
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Kachikwu said, “Those numbers have spiked; can I challenge those numbers? Yes.
“I am questioning them through science. We just got the Department Of Petroleum Resources (DPR) to install trackers to track every product coming into the country for the first time. In a matter of months, we will be able to say for certain, what we really consume.”
“What we have done basically is to institute a quiet audit to look at those numbers, find out why we are going up because it is troubling for everyone, especially when the price is hiked,” the minister explained.
On further steps taken, he said he has always engaged with the DPR and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to ascertain the figures.
The minister, however, rejected the claims that over 10 million litres of petrol were moved across the border.
He insisted that there were no hard facts or reasons for him to be suspicious of the numbers that were given.
But Kachikwu noted that he had substantial reasons to question how the products were moved.
“My responsibility is to sit with NNPC, PPPRA, vet those numbers to be sure and that is why we just installed the latest technology with DPR,” he said.
He added, “If the numbers are right, then we need to ask ourselves why we are growing at this alarming rate.
“Something is spiking that sort of consumption; is it the usual excuse of going through the border? but you can’t move 10 million litres a day across the border that easily; you need almost a thousand trucks and that can’t happen because we are not that porous.”
The minister proposed that the best way to stem the tide was to get the nation’s refineries working and engage the private sector in the operations.