Cabinet Approves N22 Billion for Petroleum Sector

By Timothy Choji, Abuja

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The Federal Executive Council has approved N22 billion for the construction of a conference hostel facility for the Nigeria Content Development and Monitoring Board.

The facility is to be located opposite the National Content building in Yenegoa, capital of Bayelsa State, Southern Nigeria.

Minister of State Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva disclosed this to State House Correspondents at the end of Wednesday’s meeting of the Federal Executive Council presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari.

He said: “The Federal Executive Council today approved the award of contract procurement for the provision of a conference hostel facility in Yenegoa, adjacent the Nigerian Content Towers for the sum of N22 billion and it is to be constructed in 24 months.”

Sylva also gave an explanation on what is responsible for the current queues witnessed at petrol stations in Abuja, the nation’s capital.

The Minister blamed the scarcity of the product on the selfish attitude of marketers of petroleum products.

He said: “Only in the Abuja metropolis we continue to have these queues.  So, is it that there is less supply to Abuja than to the rest of the country? It is not so. If you go out of Abuja, they can afford to sell at higher prices and I am sure a lot of people are buying at those higher prices.

“But within Abuja, because of the watchful eyes of the government, they cannot sell at those prices. So we will have to live with that for some time until we fully deregulate. That actually is the problem, it is not a supply problem from us, but it is the marketers. But we are engaging the marketers and will continue to engage them. In fact, before now the Nigerian Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO) said, Oh, because diesel prices were now going up and of course, you know that diesel is deregulated already.

“So, because diesel prices have gone up, the cost of their moving product has also gone up and therefore, we must try to do something about the bridging cost. We did that with them, we were able to respond to that and they were able to do something for NARTO. And of course, the rest of the marketers are also saying oh no, we must try to add a few things for them here and there.

But we can’t continue as a government to increase the subsidy. We cannot continue to do that. Because of that, they are now saying Okay, in this Abuja metropolis where they feel it is right at the centre, they are not probably supplying the product as they are supplying to other places. But you will agree with me that there are no queues outside Abuja.”


On the issue of refineries, Sylva assured Nigerians that the ongoing rehabilitation of the national assets would be completed on schedule.

He said: “The rehabilitation of the Port Harcourt refinery is on course. We promised that by the end of this year, the old refinery will be fully operational. That’s what we promised and that is fully on course, I still stand on that. And of course, also Dangote refinery is expected to be on stream by January next year. So, these issues will gradually be resolved and we will get to the point where Nigeria will be fully supplied from in-country refined products.”

He used the opportunity to pay glowing tributes to the late Secretary General of OPEC, Mohammed Barkindo, who died on Tuesday.





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