The minister of State for Petroleum Resource, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, on Thursday listed the removal of subsidy on petroleum products and how to deal with the aftermath as one of the quick critical issues the government must address.
The minister spoke in Abuja while reeling out some key achievements recorded by the ministry since 2016.
Kachikwu said other quick critical issues the government must address were the liberation of the downstream sector, completion of the revamp of the refineries and increasing crude oil production to 2.5m barrels per day.
“In the midstream and downstream sectors, we have struggled. I would love to see a day when there would not be fuel scarcity in this country but for that to happen, there are certain realities,” he said.
He said for fuel scarcity to completely stop in the country, the liberalization of the sector was going to be a panacea.
“As long as we continue to subsidize product, you are going to continue to struggle. So, we need to find a way that we would meet the product needs sufficiently for the populace and at the same time free the sector to grow.
“We have been working on trying to rebuild the four refineries; we got that approval in 2016. Financiers have finally been found but to agree on terms have been difficult.
“I am hoping that by the end of this year and first quarter next year, we would have completed the commercial aspect of this financial undertaking and be able to allow private sector collaborate with the NNPC and repair these refineries and bring back 450,000 refineries into shape. That is one of the first solutions to solving the fuel crisis. The solution is to get the refineries to work,” he said.