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Gowon laments failure to complete five export-oriented refineries

A Former Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon
A Former Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon

A former Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon (rtd) on Monday lamented its administration’s failure to complete planned five export-oriented refineries, saying if his administration had been allowed to finish them, exporting crude oil for exchange of refined products would not have arise.

Speaking in Lagos at the second annual Oil and Gas Trainers Association of Nigeria (OGTAN) International Conference and Exhibition with the theme “Human Capital Development as a Driver for National Transformation”, Gowon said the new policy of crude oil exchange had created problems resulting into accruing huge subsidy which should not be there if successive government had followed our plans.

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“During our time, we planned to build five export-oriented refineries to be able to deal with exporting of crude oil for refine products. But then, we had the three refineries: Warri, PortHarcourt and Kaduna for the home consumption.

“Though, today, our consumption has grown more than what the three refineries can do, what would have happened was to transfer one of the export-oriented refineries to feed local market. This is the way that it would have been.

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Daily Trust recalled that Gowon who took over power 1966 was overthrown in 1975.

The former Head of State however hoped that with the coming on stream of a number of modular refineries, exchange of crude oil for fuel will be reduced.

“With the modular refineries coming up, I hope things will improve and there will be reduction of our dependence on export of our crude oil for refine petroleum products as this has created a lot of problem like subsidy and other challenges. I hope the modular refinery will solve the problem”, he stated

Meanwhile, the minister of state for Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu has said that though, there is logic in the removal of fuel subsidy as advised by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) but that in reality, Nigeria is in a unique situation.

Speaking as the guest of honour at the event, Kachikwu said:  “There is a lot of anti-populist against fuel subsidy removal; so any president that will take such decision will have to weigh all the factors.

“If you remember in 2016, we made efforts to remove it but things have changed since then. So I need to look into the advice, and advise the President on what is good for the country.”

While appreciating President Muhammadu Buhari for encouragement towards local skills development especially with the Passage of the recent Executive Order No 5, OGTAN President, Mayowa Afe, stressed that the new policy has helped the group as it prohibits the issuance of visas to foreigners for skills available in Nigeria.

He said the Executive Order also encourages any required expatriate engagement to have due consideration for transfer of such skills to Nigerians.

In pursuing profitable local and international partnerships, Afe said OGTAN has just signed a corporation agreement with the European Association of Geoscientists and Engineers (EAGE) to bring more internationally certified trainings to Nigeria.

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