Kachikwu: 2019 Target to End Petrol Imports
FG to announce new interest rate for manufacturers, Says Osinbajo
The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, on Tuesday disclosed that the federal governmentâ€™s target to end importation of petroleum products in 2019 was is non-negotiable, stressing that operators in the oil and gas industry, who cannot deliver on this target had failed the country.
This is coming as the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Dr. Maikanti Baru, has said the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) has been mandated to dispense any hoarded petrol in any depot or filling station across the country free to motorists.
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has said the federal government would soon announce a new interest rate specifically to encourage access to loan to the manufacturing sector to boost economic activities.
Speaking during the inauguration of sub-Saharan Africaâ€™s largest tank farm built by Petrolex Oil and Gas Limited in Ibefun, Ogun State, Kachikwu stated that all the refining capacities being developed in this country should be geared towards achieving this target.
He urged the Chairman of Petrolex Oil and Gas Limited, Mr. Segun Adebutu to expedite actions on the implementation of the 250,000 barrels per day refinery being planned by the company.
â€œThe future here is very pregnant because of the successful birth we are experiencing here today. It is pregnant because tomorrow beckons very sharply. It beckons in terms of the great development of pipeline infrastructure; great refining that I hope and I am going to encourage and persuade and cajole him to bring forward and make possible before 2019 and I am sure the vice president is shaking his head to that one,â€ Kachikwu said.
â€œIt is important that all the refining capacities, whether it is the Dangotes; whether it is the four refineries that the Group managing director of NNPC is reactivating; whether it is the Niger-Katsina initiative and of course, Petrolex â€“ we must encourage all of them to help us work assiduously in delivering refining capability par excellence, so that by 2019, we will be able to say that for the first time in this country, we are able to produce all the products that we need,â€ the minister added.
In his speech, the Group Manging Director of NNPC, Dr. Maikanti Baru, said the 300 million litre-capacity tank farm would help in the federal governmentâ€™s efforts to maintain strategic reserves of petroleum products to ensure uninterrupted supply.
Baru explained that the recent petrol scarcity was caused by independent marketers and depot owners, who hoarded the product with the anticipation that the government would increase the pump price.
He gave an assurance that the government has no plan to increase the price of petrol, stressing that the DPR of has been mandated to dispense any hoarded product in any depot or filling station free to motorists.
Also speaking, former President Olusegun Obasanjo charged the federal government and the NNPC to facilitate Petrolexâ€™s efforts to construct the pipelines for the discharge of petroleum products into the Petrolex depot within 18 months as promised by the corporation.
According to him, the pipelines would eliminate extra handling costs associated with the use of barges to discharge the products from the imported cargoes to the depot.
Obasanjo canvassed for a robust public, private sector collaboration, adding that no private business can thrive without support from the public sector.
In his remarks, the Chairman of Petrolex, Mr. Segun Adebutu, said the bitter experience he had while growing up in Apapa motivated him to embark on the project, adding that the tank farm would decongest Apapa by 70 per cent by removing about 2,000 trucks from Apapa roads
Business mogul, Sir Kessington Adebukunola Adebutu, said he was proud for his sonâ€™s vision in building the largest tank farm in Africa.
Speaking shortly before he inaugurated the tank farm, Osinbajo said the federal government would soon announce a new interest rate specifically to encourage access to loan to the manufacturing sector with a view to boost economic activities.
He said the federal government was already working out the modalities having realised that the manufacturing sector is key resetting the economy.
Osinbajo further revealed that he has been directed by President Muhammadu Buhari to develop a framework that will provide access to fund to manufacturerâ€™s at affordable rate such that the sector will be motivated to boost capacity to trigger economic activities.
He said government would continue to create enabling environment for industrial sector to thrive.
Osinbajo lauded Petrolex for taking such bold initiative to develop an integrated energy mega city capable of transforming the oil and gas landscape of the country.
He said by its size and scope the investment will help the country meet its petroleum products need in 2018 and reduce by 20 per cent domestic petrol need by first quarter of 2019.
Osinbajo said the commissioning was a clear testament of the companyâ€™s vision and shows also that Nigeria is ready for business.
He said the facility would not only ease petroleum products supply and distribution but will create jobs and trigger economic activities across the state.
He assured that government would continue to incentivise private investors to encourage more investments across all sectors of the economy.