The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, has said Nigeria’s four refineries my become worthless once the refinery being built by the Dangote group begins operation in 2019.
Kachikwu said this at a stakeholders’ consultative forum on the draft National Gas Policy and National Oil Policy in Abuja on Thursday.
The minister said the country’s refineries must be revamped within the shortest possible time to avoid such occurrence.
He said, “Refineries will have to work. It is really not an option anymore. And not only should they work, they have to work very quickly. The reality is that if we do not privatise and we do not concede them, which is not what we are doing now, then we have a responsibility to find private capital to get them to where they should be.
“This is because if we do not get them to work, in 2019, I can assure you that if the Dangote system works well, we will have scrap, we won’t have refineries, because by then it will be too late to do anything.”
Kachikwu also spoke on the deregulation of the downstream oil sector.
He said, “At every given time in the history of every country, you will always have partial deregulation. The reason being that you have to catch up each time and make an amendment, and even if it is just one day, you may have some level of subsidy for that one or two days before it is removed.
“What is important is the goal post, where are we headed? Where we are headed is to try and free the industry so that it can do its own rules and set its own prices. There are few mechanics that we still need to get in place properly. We can’t forget the fact that we still have foreign exchange challenges and that income to the government is still very tight.”