The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has revealed that the Federal Government of Nigeria spent $36.3 billion on the importation of petroleum products between 2013 and 2017.
Speaking on Monday at a public hearing organised by a House of Representatives committee, Ganiyu Amao, CBN Director of Research and Representative, said the figure was part of the $119.4 billion spent on importing commodities during the same period.
The committee is investigating the state of the nation’s refineries, their turn-around maintenance to date and regular/modular licensed refineries.
Amao said efforts by the bank to intervene in the foreign exchange market are reduced by the excessive outflow of foreign exchange.
He said, “Data from CBN shows that from 2013 to 2017, total foreign exchange committed to imports in the country stood at $119.41 billion, while total foreign exchange committed to imports in oil sector stood at $36.37 billion.
“This represents 13.5 percent of all imports made by the country. It greatly exerts serious pressure on our external reserve and depreciates the value of our local currency.”
Amao, however, said the CBN prefers a policy that mandates international oil companies (IOCs) to refine at least half of the crude they produce locally.