Ibe Kachikwu, minister of state for petroleum resources, says President Muhammadu Buhari is not opposed to the implementation of the petroleum industry bill (PIB).
Speaking on Thursday at the ground-breaking ceremony for construction of the 5,000 barrel per day (bpd)capacity modular refinery by Walter Smith Petrochemical Limited, in Imo, the minister said Buhari is only being careful to ensure that areas of concerns are addressed.
“The president’s disposition is not that the PIB will not see the light of the day. That is not true. His position is that there are concerns that it works; that we need to make it comfortable,” Kachikwu said.
“We, therefore, need to persevere and encourage the National Assembly to continue to work on it to make it comfortable for the ‘Big Man’ to sign.”
The president had declined assent to the bill for “legal and constitutional reasons” according to Ita Enang, his legislative aide.
Kachikwu also said it would be a sad case if Nigeria is still importing her fuel by the end of 2019, a softer remark than his 2017 statement.
In an interview, the minister had said he would resign if he does not deliver on his promise of making Nigeria self-sufficient in crude refining by 2019.
“It would be sad if by the end of 2019 we are still importing fuel from abroad,” he said.
“So, we are committed to repairing the refineries; by that, we can at least process about 500,000 barrels of crude per day.
“The policy of this administration is: ‘go back to refining about 20 percent of our crude which will move to 50 per cent in the next five years’.”
Simi Wabote, executive secretary, Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) said the board invested $10 million as an equity partner in the project.