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Petrol smuggling: Customs, NSA grant supply waivers to filling stations near borders – says DPR

Petrol smuggling: Customs, NSA grant supply waivers to filling stations near borders, says DPR

The Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) has denied the claim by the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) that it was partly to blame for the continued smuggling of petroleum products across the nation’s borders.

Last week, Hameed Ali, the comptroller-general of Customs, accused the DPR of granting licences to filling stations within 20km of the borders, contrary to the federal government’s directive.

“We had a series of meeting with the DPR, they said most of those filling stations at the border are illegal, so we said, give us the names and list of those illegal fuelling stations, then we will take care of the legal ones, three years after, we have not received one name,” he had said.

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“These are the problems. There is a law that says that no Nigerian fueling station should be established within 10km to the border. But DPR will do their survey, they will issue licences to people to operate there. Our concern is the inflow and outflow.”

However, on Monday, Bashir Sodiq, head of downstream department at DPR, alleged that the office of the national security adviser (NSA) and the Customs have been issuing waivers on border filling stations, which the DPR had been complying with.

Sodiq spoke at the ongoing interactive session organised by the house of representatives committee on finance on the 2022-2024 medium term expenditure framework/fiscal strategy paper (MTEF/FSP) for ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) in Abuja.

He explained that filling stations along the land borders now get less than three percent of daily fuel distribution.

“I am not sure that the information that the CG has is correct. I have the record here,” the DPR official said.

“We were directed to stop supplying to filling stations 20km to the borders, which we did. I have the circular that we sent to all our offices.

“However, as time went on, we had a series of communications both from the ONSA and the NCS requesting for exemptions; none of these were initiated by the DPR. Why? Maybe because of security issue; because we felt that smuggling was more of security issue. Whenever we get any request from them, we approve.”

He said the DPR had not issued any licence to any filling station along the land borders since the directive was given.

Nigeria has seen a surge in the activities of oil smugglers in recent times, impacting the nation’s economy.

In June, NNPC had said smuggling across the borders increased the consumption of premium motor spirit (PMS) to 102 million litres per day.

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