Oil operators on Sunday revealed that the Federal Government spends N40.1bn daily when subsidising every litre of Premium Motor Spirit, popularly called petrol by at least N600.
According to data obtained from the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited, this also means that the government is spending about N1.243tn on fuel subsidies every month.
Also, the latest PMS evacuation data showed that the year-to-date daily consumption of petrol in Nigeria was 66.8 million litres.
Oil marketers said the cost of petrol (if not subsidised as done in Nigeria) was often higher than the cost of Automotive Gas Oil, popularly known as diesel.
They said diesel price was currently between N800 and N850/litre, while the approved subsidised pump price of petrol had remained at N165/litre. Diesel is not subsidised.
Their position had earlier been confirmed severally by other operators in the oil sector, including NNPC’s Group Managing Director, Mele Kyari.
Based on this, it implies that the Federal Government through NNPC currently spends nothing less than N600 as subsidy on every litre of petrol consumed across the country.
“The cost of petrol in Nigeria is about the cheapest in the world. And this is because of subsidy. The subsidy is not small, it is so great,” the Deputy National President, Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, Zarma Mustapha, told our correspondent.
He added, “Diesel is going for about N850/litre currently because there is no subsidy on it. And this means petrol price should be almost same price if not for subsidy.”
Zarma explained that this humungous subsidy spending by the government through NNPC was unsustainable, stressing that the crisis in the downstream oil sector was now affecting retail outlets seriously.
He said, “Many independent marketers who were selling at the N165/litre price have closed shop over time because it is not sustainable and is killing our businesses.
“So with the current dynamics going on in the industry, it is not realistic to sell PMS at N165/litre. I want to tell you one thing, in the whole world there is no place that petrol is being sold at the price we are selling it in Nigeria.”
NNPC has been the sole importer of petrol into Nigeria for several years. The oil firm has continued to shoulder the burden of subsidy over these years, a development that has been making it unable to make monthly remittances to the Federation Accounts Allocation Committee.
Also speaking on the burden of fuel subsidy on the economy, the President, Petroleum Products Retail Outlets Owners Association of Nigeria, Billy Gillis-Harry, told our correspondent that the subsidy regime was no longer sustainable.
The National President, Natural Oil and Gas Suppliers Association, Bennett Korie, had told our correspondent that the current cost of petrol could make one to run away if told.
Meanwhile, the IPMAN deputy president urged the government to hasten up the repairs of Nigeria’s refineries, as this would serve as a major remedy to the woes besetting the oil sector.
On his part, a former President, the Association of National Accountants of Nigeria, Dr. Sam Nzekwe, stressed that it would be very harsh at the moment to completely halt fuel subsidy.