As fuel crisis lingers unabated in Nigeria, Dangote Group, which is currently building the world’s largest refinery, has assured Nigerians that when its refinery commences operation, it will put an end to the recurring fuel crisis in the country.
While speaking to journalists in his office in Abuja yesterday, the Executive Director, Stakeholder Management and Corporate Communications, Mansur Ahmed, said by the time the refinery is ready, Nigeria will be transformed from fuel importing country to an exporting one.
“That plant (refinery) is the largest single refinery plant anywhere in the world. In addition to the plant, we are also going to produce other petrochemical products from the same complex. These are polyethylene and polypropylene,” he said.
Ahmed said the petrochemical plant which covers 250,000 hectares and located in Lekki Free Trade Zone in Lagos is expected to gulp a whopping $14billion, and has the capacity to refine 650million barrel a day.
He suggested that government deregulated the downstream sector so that investors can play in an open market.
According to Ahmed, “One would prefer if it was deregulated so that we know that we are playing in an open market. The key issue is that if I buy crude oil whether from Nigeria or individual, I buy at an international price. If I produce product and want to sell, I should sell that product at an international price.
“So, I would not be affected by the decision of local pricing, and it is on that concept that we went into refining. We expect that we would buy our input, especially crude oil, on an international market price and that when we produce products, we will sell them at an international price.
“The refining industry is a global industry, if you use those international benchmarks, you shouldn’t really worry about price.
“It is time Nigeria completely deregulated the downstream industry. The kind of reason that has compelled government to fix petroleum product prices has not been tenable.
“If they said it is done because of the common man, when you do the study, you do not see the ordinary people benefiting from it, it is a few people who benefit. This is the best time to deregulate.”
Speaking on the ongoing reforms by the federal government, the Dangote Group Executive Director, said it is a continuation from past governments, adding that it is in the right direction.
He however added that: “We haven’t seen the full implementation of the reforms, so it would be unfair to make any judgment, unless those independent units are clearly self-accounting and one can see whether these units are actually making profit or loss.”