Nigeria spent a total of $119.409billion on the importation of commodities into the country in five years, out of which $36.371billion was committed to the importation of petroleum products, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), has said.
The House of Representatives, has, however, given the management of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, 24 hours to provide relevant information relating to installed capacity, volume of crude supply and output, as well as the Turn Around Maintenance of the four refineries.
The CBN, which revealed how the nation has spent this whooping sum in five years via a presentation before the House of Representatives adhoc Committee on Refineries Turn Around Maintenance, further revealed that the development has put undue pressure on the nation’s external reserve and induced the depreciation of the naira.
CBN Director in charge of research, Mr Ganiyu Amao, who disclosed this before the House panel, said, “data from the CBN show that from 2013 to 2017, a total of foreign exchange committed to imports in the country stood at $119.409billion, while the total foreign exchange committed to imports in the oil sector stood at $36.371billion, representing 13.5percent of all imports made by the country.
“It greatly exerts serious pressure on our external reserve and depreciates the value of our local currency.”
The CBN representative, also disclosed that while domestic consumption rose from 4.5 million metric ton to 23.9million metric ton in 2013, it dropped to 2.6m Metric Ton in 2016.
According to him, the CBN favours a policy that compels International Oil companies, IOCs, to refine at least half of the crude that they produce for domestic consumption.
The Committee Chairman, Hon. Dattin Garba Muhammad, APC, Kaduna, revealed how some stakeholders were trying to frustrate the investigation, adding, “only a few organisations and individuals have complied with the committee’s request for documents and memoranda as many are bent on frustrating the investigation to this regard.
“The committee derives it’s authority to conduct this probe from the resolution referred to it in line with the provisions of the constitution. And this committee will not hesitate to invoke relevant provisions of our laws with a view to obtaining compliance from parties required to make inputs and providing information.
“This is a different committee in the sense that we have written to the President and Commander-in-Chief to give us audience in his capacity as the substantive minister of petroleum and again under whom these refineries were built. As I speak, he has written to us and graciously granted our request for the meeting, of which date would be communicated to us.
“So you can see that this is the first committee that would be inter-facing with the President in the course of an investigation.”
The lawmakers, have earlier lambasted the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation for failing to provide relevant documents requested for by the probe panel. This is even as the Chief Operating Officer of NNPC, Anibor Kragha explained to the lawmakers that the NNPC doesn’t really favour any further turn Around Maintenance, adding that it calls for a comprehensive rehabilitation.