ABUJA - Nigeria has failed to capitalise on an oil price boom that has helped cushion other exporters from the impact of inflation, with millions more Nigerians now facing poverty.

Data from Nigeria's state oil company NNPC shows that it did not contribute anything to state coffers in the first eight months of 2022, despite crude prices averaging $94 a barrel so far this year, a rise of 42% from last year.

At the heart of Nigeria's problem is that despite being Africa's biggest oil and gas producer, the country depends almost entirely on imports to cover its gasoline needs.

It then subsidises the cost to consumers, which has created a disparity between the price at the pump and what people pay to fill their tanks in neighbouring countries, such as Benin.

This has led to widespread smuggling, which has in turn driven up the amount of costly gasoline Nigeria imports and wiped out the gains that it should have made from crude exports because it ends up buying far more than it needs.

Estimates of the amount of gasoline smuggled abroad vary, with some independent researchers putting it at around 15 million litres a day, while NNPC's own assessment is 42 million.