The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has questioned claims by the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited that Nigerians consume “60 million litres of petrol daily”.
Hammed Ali, comptroller-general, Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), raised the question on Thursday during a session with the house of representatives committee on finance on the 2023-2025 medium-term expenditure frame and fiscal strategy paper (MTEF/FSP).
Ali said he wondered “why NNPC, which put Nigeria’s daily fuel consumption at 60 million litres, lifts 98 million litres into the market”.
Reacting to questions by the committee on the proposed subsidy spending for 2022, Ali said the issue is about the daily petroleum consumption estimations.
“I remember that last year, we spoke about this. Unfortunately, this year, we are talking about subsidy again. The over N11 trillion we are going to take as debt, more than half of it is going for a subsidy,” he said.
“The issue is not about the smuggling of petroleum products. I have always argued this with the NNPC. If we are consuming 60 million litres of PMS per day by their own computation, why would you allow the release of 98 million litres per day? If you know this is our consumption, why would you allow that release?
“Scientifically, you cannot tell me that if I fill my tank today, tomorrow, I will fill the same tank with the same quantity of fuel.
“If I am operating a fuel station today and I go to Minna depot, lift petrol and take it to Kaduna, I may get to Kaduna in the evening and offload that fuel. There is no way I would have sold off that petrol immediately to warrant another load.
“So, how did you get to 60 million litres per day? That is my question. The issue of smuggling, if you release 98 million litres in actual and 60 million litres are used, the balance should be 38 million litres. How many trucks will carry 38 million litres every day? Which road are they following and where are they carrying this thing to?”
The comptroller-general said the customs is doing its best to fight against smuggling, adding that more support, collaboration and provision will go a long way.
He also explained that the service was not remitting its operating surplus of seven percent because it is used for operations and payment of its staff members’ salaries.
“Nigeria Customs Service is the only organisation today that has to fight to collect revenue. It is the only organisation that losses its men in the course of collecting revenue and enforcing anti-smuggling provisions,” he added.
“It is the only organisation that raises its funds on a regular basis.
“As a result of this, the government agreed to give us a seven percent cost of collection. By my understanding, the cost of collection is paying for our labour. That is what we live on, that is what we use to pay our salaries, and fund our capital and overhead. That is our sole income.
At the session, the lawmakers also queried the sums of N6.7 billion spent on legal matters out of N7.5 billion approved in the 2021 appropriation act, as well as the N9.2 billion proposed in the 2023 budget.
Justifying the expenditure, Alli explained that the service wrote the presidency for a virement of N4 billion to cater for pending legal debts.
He added that inadequate funds may cause the service to pay as much as N20 billion for a suit of N3 billion for default.
On his part, Saidu Abdullahi, deputy chairman of the committee, said about 500 trucks with 70,000 litre-capacity each are needed to ferry the 38 million excess litres.
Abdullahi said he wondered “if the Nigerian Communications Satellite (NIGCOMSAT) had at any time captured images of trucks leaving our shore”.
He described subsidy payment as a scam, adding that it constitutes a drain on the economy.
“If there is anything that has constituted a nuisance and has become a drain on the economy today, it is this issue of subsidy,” Abdullahi said.
“As a government, we have not done well. We owe it to the people of this country to do what is right for this country. We are talking about over N6 trillion going for subsidy payment that almost doesn’t exist.
“You talk about 38 million litres which amount to about 500 trucks leaving our shores on a daily basis. We have an investment in NIGCOMSAT. Has there been any time that our satellite captured images of trucks leaving our shore?
“I think it is very clear that what is required is the political will to put a halt to this.
“Considering the importance of the inter-dependence of these two arms of government, I think we should work together to put a halt to this. Posterity will be kind to us if we are able to proffer a lasting solution to this issue of subsidy because it is not sustainable.
“We talk about insecurity. This is the real course of it. The money that is supposed to go into the provision of social amenities is going into private pockets. I think there is a need to work together to put a halt to this.”
Ooni’s new wife adds colour to Olojo festival
The new wife of Ooni of Ife, Mariam Ajibola, on Saturday stepped out with her husband, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, for the first since she got married to the royal father on Saturday as the annual Olojo Festival got underway in Ile-Ife, Osun State.
Mariam, who attended the event with her husband, and other dignitaries that included; Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola and Osun state Deputy governor, Benedict Alabi, among others, was dressed in all white attire, and was seen speaking with the royal father as different groups paid homage to the Ooni during the ceremony.
The new Yeyeluwa of Ife is attending Olojo, a major cultural celebration in Ile-Ife, during which Ooni will adorn ‘Are crown,’ for the first time as Ooni’s wife.
The new queen was ushered into Ile Oodua Palace in Ile-Ife at 8pm on Tuesday, September 6 by her mother and other members of her family from Kogi and Kwara states and since then, she had not attended any public outing.
Keyamo: Why Osinbajo was not included in Tinubu’s campaign council
The campaign council of the All Progressives Congress presidential candidate, Bola Tinubu, has cleared the air surrounding the absence of Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo from the list of patrons.
In a statement released on Saturday by Festus Keyamo, spokesperson of the council, the APC camp said Osinbajo was left out of the lineup to allow him “concentrate on governance of the country and administration of government.”
On Friday, the APC presidential campaign council released a list containing 422 names of its members.
Osinbajo was absent from the list alongside Yakubu Dogara, former speaker of the house of representatives, Babachir Lawal, former secretary to the government of the federation, and Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, former minister of state for education.
The vice-president had contested the APC presidential ticket with Tinubu, and it appeared to have severed the relationship between the duo.
The absence of Osinbajo’s name from the campaign council further fuels the suspicion of an awry turn in their relationship.
Addressing the situation, the campaign team said President Muhammadu Buhari ordered the omission of the vice-president and Boss Mustapha, secretary to the government of the federation, from the list.
“Our attention has been drawn to some stories making the rounds that there may be something amiss within the family of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as the name of our own revered and respected Vice-President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, GCON, is not included in the list of the Tinubu/Shettima Presidential Campaign Council,” the statement read.
“Nothing can be farther from the facts. For the avoidance of doubt, President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, is the chairman of the campaign council. As a result, Mr President has SPECIFICALLY directed that the Vice-President and the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, should be left out of the Campaign Council to concentrate on the governance of the country and administration of government.
“As a responsible party and government, all the key functionaries of government cannot abandon their positions for electioneering campaigns. The APC has the mandate of the Nigerian people to administer the country on their behalf at least till May 29, 2023, and this we intend to do with all sense of responsibility.
“Our candidates and the leadership of the APC have also indicated that the list is not sacrosanct as there may be periodic review of it as circumstances dictate.
“We will not toe the path of those who governed the country in an irresponsible manner before us, and our Party is not in total disarray like those who wish to ‘rescue’ the country but cannot simply manage their own internal affairs.”
Shock as PDP senator, Chimaroke Nnamani, makes APC presidential campaign council list
Chimaroke Nnamani, a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and senator representing Enugu east senatorial district, has been listed a member of the All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential campaign council.
In a 422-man committee released by James Faleke, secretary, APC presidential campaign council, on Friday, Nnamani is the 350th on the list as a member.
Prior to his announcement, Nnamani did not announce his exit from the PDP.
But in August, Nnamani, in a long-thread tweet, said he is in opposition to the “shameless campaigns and parodies” aimed at the health of Bola Tinubu, the presidential candidate of the APC.
Nnamani, a medical doctor, said he is appalled by the “extreme and unprofessional” forms of attacks directed at the former Lagos state governor over his health.
“I vigorously oppose, protest and detest the shameless campaigns and parodies targeting Tinubu’s health,” he wrote.
“As a health worker, I am amazed by ignorance, foolishness, wickedness and callousness of these idiotic operators. I believe they are unwarranted, extremely unprofessional, and have no place in our polity.
Nnamani also cited Tinubu’s works in the criminal justice sector, education, and health, adding that he left a “lasting legacy of hard work in Lagos infrastructure”.
He did not answer or return calls and SMS sent to his mobile phone.
But Felix Morka, APC national publicity secretary, said he would respond later.
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