Business Hilights
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Low hanging fruits like petrochemicals can diversify economy faster—Shell

The Managing Director of Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company (SNEPCo), Bayo Ojulari, has tactically indicted the Nigerian government of not understanding the imports of petrochemicals in the ongoing drive to diversify the economy.

Though he spoke on theme, ‘Diversification of the Nigerian Economy – The Oil & Gas Industry as an Enabler’, Ojulari emphasised the need for a diversification roadmap bearing the commitment signature of major stakeholders in the Nigerian project. “With such a roadmap, we are able to track performance year-in year-out while remaining focused.”

However, he went the extra mile to argue that “For Nigeria to diversify its economy, it must leverage the low hanging fruits such as agriculture, petrochemicals, which use gas as its feedstock and most importantly, education and technology.”

Reviewing his argument, some industry analysts said for listing petrochemicals as one of the ‘low hanging fruits’ when none of the nation’s refineries is working to full capacity is a clear indictment on the government and indigenous players in the oil and gas industry.

Experts further agreed with him on seeing petrochemicals as low hanging fruits, but decried the naivety and lack of the needed political will which is usually overshadowed by corruption in the system to grow or expand to where the sector should be after all.

Business Hilights recalls that since the emergence of the fourth republic in 1999, no Nigerian refinery has worked to installed capacity and all efforts including injection of funding for Turnaround maintenance have all went into the drain pipe of corruption.

Besides, upon all discoveries that all the billions of dollars sunk into the revival of refineries failed to give the desired results, nobody had been queried, investigated or tried in any court of competent jurisdiction till date.

This may be the key reason why the National Assembly recently shutdown another spending spree to revive the refineries on the background of possible blowing away of such appropriations.

Besides, since the rejection of fresh funding by lawmakers, the leadership of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has come up with several but endless fund raising plans which have failed to materialise till date, thus indicating government’s inability to find a financing contractor.

The Group Managing Director of NNPC had few months ago, hinted that the agency is working on a framework to liaise with a financing contractor to repair the four national refineries after it was done on him that lawmakers are no longer ready to approve funding that will drain into unknown pockets in the name of fixing refineries.