Atiku urges FG to boost local refining capacity
Former Vice President of Nigeria, Atiku Abubakar has urged the Federal Government to boost local refining capacity by the liberalisation of the downstream sector in the oil industry.
Atiku who was the Presidential flag bearer of the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party in the 2019 general elections said where such liberalisation allows for local refining of up to 50 per cent of the nation’s petroleum production output, it would impact on the economy as it supports local consumption.
Atiku in a statement issued by his Media Office in Abuja on Sunday said the focus of the Federal Government should be to aggressively drive the enhancement of our local capacity to process larger quantities of our crude for domestic consumption and not be fixated over price-fixing.
He emphasised that closely related to this, is the need to build the enabling infrastructure to add value to the economy via the development of petrochemical facilities. These will allow the country to impact upon so many sectors including agriculture, pharmaceuticals, textiles and construction as well as food processing.
According to Atiku, “UNIDO estimates that up to 1 million new jobs can be created in Nigeria within 10 years through investments in petrochemicals and petrochemicals-based activities.
On the propriety of fixing the pump price of petrol, he noted that the price of petrol is not determined by only the price of crude.
“The price of crude and fuel can fall even further or go back up without notice. Nigeria, as it stands today, does not even have the money to continue to be involved in backstopping fuel price at any level. And the way to go is to liberalise the downstream subsector and not fix prices as long as the marketers can import on their own and sell.”
This, Atiku said, can be achieved within a very short time if the government encourages private sector participation under a liberalised downstream sector.