The Independent Petroleum Marketers’ Association of Nigeria has urged the Federal Government to encourage local refiners, to boost local refining of crude oil in the country.
Chinedu Okoronkwo, the National President of IPMAN, made the appeal in a telephone interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Lagos on Wednesday.
Okoronkwo said the appeal became imperative for President Buhari to encourage the local refining of petroleum products as he embarks on the second phase of his administration.
He said that only domestic refining would end ongoing challenges in the nation’s oil and gas sector.
According to him, the president should focus on how to upgrade the refineries and also encourage local refineries that are already licensed.
He said: “This will go a long way in saving our country the needed foreign income which will be used in the development of other aspects of our economy like agriculture, mining and the manufacturing sector.
“The key focus of government should be to stimulate local refining of petroleum and petrochemical products.
“Domestic gas production for energy, industry, agricultural and automotive purposes should be given serious attention in President Muhammadu Buhari’s second term administration.’’
The IPMAN president urged government to reduce the rate of importation of products and also encourage local refiners to boost local production.
He said that a reduction in the volume of importation of products would not only stabilise the economy but also create millions of jobs for the unemployed youths in the country.
Okoronkwo said: “Job creation and manpower utilisation should also be a priority of the government at such time like this when crime rate had increased.
“Many of our present challenges are tied to unemployment and government’s inability to channel the youthful strength of our young people into productive activities.’’
Okoronkwo said that the oil and gas industry witnessed a lot of improvement in the past four years as against the era of dwindling global oil prices.
Meanwhile, a report has revealed that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation between February 2018 and February 2019, exported crude oil and gas worth 5.94 billion dollars.
The February 2019 edition of the corporation’s Monthly Financial and Operations Report just released, showed that the group posted a total export sale of crude oil and gas of 490.03 million dollars in February, which was 32.45 per cent higher than the previous month’s sale.