The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu, has vowed to resign if the country fails to attain self-sufficiency in the refining of petroleum products by 2019.
Dr. Kachikwu, who spoke as a guest on BBC Hard Talk in London on Monday, also stated that he recently signed an agreement with oil giant, Agip, for the firm to build a refinery in Nigeria.
When asked to state the year that Nigeria would be self-sufficient in refining petroleum products, Kachikwu replied, “I have said 2019, and that is the target that I gave.”
On whether he would leave office if he failed to achieve the target, the minister replied, “Yes, of course. That is the reason why you are in government.”
Kachikwu was also told by his interviewer that the industry was totally dysfunctional considering the fact that Nigeria exports crude oil and imports refined products despite having refineries, but he stated that efforts were being made to revive obsolete facilities in the sector.
Kachikwu said, “Let me say this; yes it is wrong, we ought to process rather than ship out crude. But look at all the efforts I have made in the last few months, including working with investors to begin to reshape the refineries that were comatose for many years.
“The President is there for two years and those refineries were down before he came. Since coming, we’ve been able to get them back to produce seven million litres versus zero. That’s not the 90 per cent template. We’re now refurbishing the refineries and I’ve just signed an agreement with Agip to build a new refinery in Nigeria.”
He added, “I’ve delivered on everything I promised when I came into office. First, I took the NNPC and moved it into a profit-making organisation, which was the first time in history. I removed cash call deficit of over $6bn and we renegotiated it. Everything that I promised, I’ve delivered and I will deliver on the refineries; I’m committed to that.”