The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has revealed that a staggering $36.3 billion went into the importation of petroleum products between 2013-2017.
The Director in charge of Research in the apex bank, Ganiyu Amao, made the disclosure at a public hearing organised by a House of Representatives Ad-hoc Committee on Refineries Turn Around Maintenance (TAM), on the inquest of the country’s importation bill within the period under review.
According to Amao, Nigeria expended $119.409 billion on the importation of commodities in five years, adding that petrol products importation consumed over 13 per cent of the bill.
He blamed the huge expenditure for the apex bank inability to intervene in the foreign exchange market due to excessive outflow of foreign exchange, pointing out that this had affected the nation’s external reserve and induced the depreciation of the naira.
“Data from the CBN show that from 2013 to 2017, a total of foreign exchange committed to imports in the country stood at $119.409 billion, while the total foreign exchange committed to imports in the oil sector stood at $36.371 billion, 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.”
He added that domestic consumption which he said rose from 4.5 million metric tons to 23.9million metric tons in 2013, however dropped to 2.6m metric tons in 2016.
He gave that CBN preference to a policy that compelled International Oil companies (IOCs) to refine at least half of the crude for domestic consumption.
Also speaking at the hearing, NNPC’s Chief Operating Officer, Anibor Kragha, disclosed the state-owned oil firm plan to carryout a rehabilitation of the country’s refineries in order to cut importation.