Nigeria’s Oil and Gas Regulatory Agency has suspended the operations of all petrol stations within the 20 kilometers along Nigeria’s land borders.
The agency, Department of Petroleum Resources, has also suspended till further notice the approval and licensing to construct filling stations near Nigeria’s land borders.
“This is to inform members of the public that the Director of Petroleum Resources has ordered the immediate suspension of All Petroleum Products Retail Outlets within 20 kilometers along Nigeria’s border areas until further notice,” Paul Osu, DPR’s public affairs officer said in a notice.
“Also suspended until further notice is the processing of Application for Approval To COntruct (ATC) and License To Operate (LTO) within 20 kilometres along Nigeria’s border areas,” Osu added.
This comes hours after the Nigeria Customs Service also banned the supply of petrol products to filling station in same region.
These strict measures are taken in helping Nigerian government combat the illegal smuggling of goods especially rice from neighbouring countries.
The Nigerian government in August ordered a partial closure of land borders to curtail smuggling of rice and other products into the country, citing non-compliance of neighbouring countries with ECOWAS protocols on the transit of goods.
According to the government, the move would create an opportunity for local producers of commodities such as rice, vegetable oil, palm oil and other agricultural produce to increase production and meet local demand.
But the nation’s inflation numbers have become the first casualty of policy-induced pressure with a 0.22 per cent rise to 11.24 per cent in September, against 11.02 in August.
The average prices month-on-month basis, rose by 1.04 per cent in September, in both food (13.5 per cent) and non-food (8.9 per cent) items, particularly the prices of bread and cereals, oils and fats, meat, potatoes, yam, and other tubers, fish and vegetables.
Indeed, the majority of these items, if not all, pass through Benin Republic’s commercial city of Cotonou, with a large portion of them smuggled into the country and adding no economic value to Nigeria’s fiscal projections.
Besides, with agricultural output in the country still at low levels, creating availability challenges, the policy announcement heightened speculations and made worse by supply shortages due to the implementation of the border post order, leading to a broad-based increase in consumer prices.
Apart from the Nigerian products low supply chain, a few Nigerians have decried the quality of the local products most especially rice.