The Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) on Tuesday said local refining of the nation’s crude remained the only way to stem the effects of declining crude oil prices on the Nigerian economy.
Mr Chinedu Okorokwo, the National President, IPMAN, made the assertion during the association’s zonal meeting and inauguration of the new western zonal vice-chairman in Lagos.
Okoronkwo said that the decline of price of crude oil at the international marketer should not disturb Nigerians adding that local refining would cushion other expenses and boost Gross Domestic Products (GDP)
According to him, more than 243 by-products are associated with crude oil but only three are maximised in Nigeria.
“When we refine our crude locally we harness more products to boost the country’s economy.
“We should not entertain any fear on the current decline in crude oil prices globally.
“IPMAN is working seriously to ensure that the proposed three billion dollars refineries in Kogi and Bayelsa come on stream by 2016 to reduce cost of refining outside the country,” he said.
He said that when the refineries come on stream, the nation would continue to build and maintain a healthy external reserves position.
“We are proposing to build two refineries in Nigeria, one in Bayelsa and another one in Kogi, to ease scarcity which is part of the present administration’s agenda.
“We are in discussion with our foreign investors.
“We will ensure that the product will get to all nooks and crannies of the country; it will also grow the GDP of the country because capital flight will be reduced drastically.
“Where Nigerians are spending 60 billion dollars in importing refined products, the proposed refineries will reduce the cost and stress of exporting crude to bring in refined products.
“It will also create jobs; there will be massive job creation where Nigerian youths will be gainfully employed. It will also stop incessant kidnapping in the country,” he said.
Okoronkwo also said that the proposed refineries would go a long way in supporting the socio-economic growth of the country as part of the transformation agenda of President Goodluck Jonathan.
He said that Nigeria, Africa’s largest crude oil producer, is the biggest importer of refined petroleum products in the continent, creating a lucrative market for refineries particularly in Europe and the U.S.
He expressed confidence that domestic refineries “hold enormous economic benefits for Nigerians and Nigeria.
According to him, IPMAN cannot commit more than three billion dollars without making sure that the refineries will work.
Also speaking, Alhaji Debo Ahmed, the newly-elected vice chairman, western zone, IPMAN, lauded government effort in combating pipeline vandalism and reassured Nigerians of the commitment in ensuring effective monitoring of petroleum distribution.
Ahmed urged member to embrace peace and support one another in moving the association forward stressing that personal wrangling would impact negatively on its interest.
“As a newly-elected member of the zonal office of IPMAN I will ensure that the integrity and harmonisation of members are paramount.
“I’m going to work with my zonal chairman and national executives to find lasting solution to petroleum products challenges within the western zone,’’ he said.