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NNPC refineries goldmines ‘poisoned’ by fuel subsidy—Dangote

More strategic revelations are still emerging from the recently concluded 2019 Nigeria International Petroleum Summit (NIPS) in Abuja.
The latest is the revelation of the Technical Adviser to the President of Dangote Group on Refinery and Petrochemicals, Mr Babajide Soyode, who called on the Federal Government to stop subsidising Premium Motor Spirit (petrol) during a panel session on refining, transportation and petrochemicals at the NIPS.
He argued that “Dangote’s construction of a 650,000-barrels-per-day refinery is not new to Nigeria. Although Dangote is presently constructing the biggest refinery in the world, Nigeria has been a big player in petroleum refining. NNPC refineries are goldmines and they are sited in the best markets in Nigeria. Why can’t the NNPC reactivate and upgrade its refineries? The NNPC has some of the best manpower in the world. Regulation is not going to stay forever.”
Soyode said the completion of Dangote refinery and other modular refinery projects in Nigeria would culminate in the integration of the downstream industries, lower cost of business and stabilise the prices of petroleum products across Africa.
However, he tied the above gains to the ability of the Federal Government to fully deregulate the downstream sector of the nation’s oil and gas industry.
According to him, “By the time Dangote completes the largest single train refinery, in addition to what other investors are doing; Nigeria will have more than enough petrol for domestic use and for export. First of all, the refinery will save Nigeria from importation of refined products, which will help to boost the value of the naira.”
While submitting that there is no need for the Federal Government to continue to subsidise petrol, Soyode stressed that “Government should remove subsidy and allow private sector to manage the downstream sector. Regulation is not going to stay forever. Regulation of petroleum products has been in existence in the last 32 years. What have we gained from it? Do you know any single poor man whose life has been improved through this policy?
“I think people should demand that subsidy be removed and the downstream sector should be deregulated. Nigerians are dynamic. We don’t need government’s regulation with respect to the price of petrol. What are they regulating? There is no country that has ever succeeded in regulating commodity product.”
To him, the best thing that will happen to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) remains to rehabilitate the nation’s refineries and bring them to full capacity utilisation.