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How to stop fuel smuggling, by customs CG Ali

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Comptroller General of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Col. Hameed Ali (rtd), yesterday offered path to smuggling of fuel to Nigeria’s neighboring countries.

Ali, who appeared before the Mahmoud Gaya-led House of Representatives Committee on Petroleum Resources (Downstream), said the problem would be contained if the product sells at a uniform price in the West African nations.

The Customs chief faulted the criticisms about the stoppage of fuel supplies to those settlements bordering Nigeria 20 kilometers, saying the decision was in the interest of the country.

Ali said he had put in place measures to cushion the effects of the policy on Nigerians living within the border towns.

His words: “We must address the issue of petroleum price equalisation. There is no way we can sell petrol at N145 in Nigeria while all our neighbours are selling it at the minimum of N300 to N400 per litre and you say these people would not smuggle it to the neighbouring countries where it sells higher.

“The margin is so clear and I think it is something that is worth looking at. I do not know what we will do, but we must find a solution to that otherwise there would never be an end to smuggling of petroleum products.”

He continued: “The 20-kilometer non-supply of fuel decision is not meant to be permanent. But I know that there is a policy in this country that says no petrol station should be established 10 kilometers to the border. It is now left for us to work with the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) and ensure that this policy is implemented. So, any petrol station that is beyond that should either have its licence revoked or be relocated.

“The bottom line is that this decision is not supposed to be a permanent. Like I said, we had to take a decision to address the grave situation in this country. There is no doubt that we are losing a lot of money. The issue here is that we are all concerned about human beings.”

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