Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), yesterday, assured Nigerians that the importation of petroleum products into the country would soon be over.
Group Managing Director (GMD) of NNPC, Mallam Mele Kyari, disclosed this while making submissions at the ongoing public hearing on the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) organised by the House Committee on Finance in Abuja.
He said once the Dangote refinery, which is under construction in Lagos State, is completed, the importation of petroleum products into the country would be over.
To realise the objective, Kyari said the corporation has invested $2.7 billion in the project as a deliberate measure aimed at having stakes in the refinery.
“Once completed, the refinery will not be under any obligation to buy crude oil from Nigeria but any other country of its choice. So, it is important we invest there, so as to have stakes and a ready market for our crude oil,” he said
He said the corporation was working to ensure the augmentation of crude oil production to 500 barrels per day, with 300 barrels having a ready market at the refinery on completion.
According to Kyari, the direct sale of crude oil to the refinery will reduce export and importation costs and generate employment for many people in the country.
He clarified that the money being invested is not public funds. He said it was borrowed for the project and is repayable to the lending source.
The GMD said the nation could not afford the over $100 billion cost of constructing the refinery; hence the decision to borrow and invest.
Nigeria, according to the NNPC boss, needs over $12 billion to overhaul its three refineries; an amount he said cannot be raised or borrowed, now. He, however, described the Dangote investment as a “good deal”.
The lawmakers, who have been furious with the GMD over his failure to appear before the committee, were excited with his presentation.
Chairman of the committee, James Faleke, who turned down the GMD’s representative on Monday, expressed satisfaction with the presentation. He assured that the National Assembly would make a law designating imported petroleum products as contrabands once the refinery begins operations.