Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) or petrol valued at N2.289 trillion was imported in the country in 2018, a report from the Nigeria Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said.
According to the report, a total of N802.4 billion was imported in the first quarter of the year, N744.28 billion in the second quarter and N742.82 billion recorded in the third quarter of 2018.
In its month-on-month analysis of the Nigeria’s fuel import, the report showed that in January, February, March, April, May and June 2018, Nigeria imported fuel valued at N384.59 billion, N357.45 billion, N103.08 billion, N190.26 billion, N380.7 billion and N149.44 billion respectively.
For July, August and September 2018, the NBS report stated that N343.25 billion, N378 billion and N295.03 billion fuel was imported respectively.
The report further pointed out that fuel import in the third quarter of 2018, accounted for 24.4 per cent of Nigeria’s total imports in the period under review.
Also, the report said the floating or submersible drilling or production platforms worth N1.159 trillion was imported from South Korea in August 2018.
It further stated that total imports into Nigeria in the third quarter of 2018 stood at N4.172 billion, rising from N2.4 trillion in the second quarter of 2018.
Meanwhile some stakeholders in the nation’s oil and gas industry at the weekend reitrated that said total deregulation of the downstream sector of the petroleum industry would unlock the huge private investment potentials in the sector and also stimulates sustainable growth.
They expressed worried over the huge amount of money spent by Federal Government annually of subsidy payment, which they said such sum could be used to develop other sector of the economy.
The Minster of State, Petroleum Resources, Dr Ibe Kachikwu said that subsidy on Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), otherwise known as petrol, currently stands over N1.4 trillion.
The Director General, Lagos Chambers of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Muda Yusuf said that perhaps the biggest burden on the economy today is the petroleum subsidy regime.
Yusuf said the government should encourage private sector players to take over the downstream sector of the petroleum business.
“When this is done, most of the challenges we see as regards subsidy, refineries and others will be adequately addressed. The government should only play a regulatory and not an operational role.
Alhaji Debo Ahmed, Western Zone Chairman of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) urged government to liberalise and enforce total deregulation of the downstream sector to boost the country’s economic growth.
Ahmed said that deregulation remained the best option to move the economy forward, adding that full deregulation would bring in investments into the sector.
He said that only deregulation would encourage the establishment of private refineries in the country.
According to him, government should summon the courage to fully deregulate and remove subsidy totally to open the market for investors.
“If government likes, they can introduce gradual removal of subsidy but it should not go beyond 6 to 18 months period. If fully deregulated with rules, you will have the serious investors coming in to invest adequately,’’ he said.