The immediate past Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu, had in February 2017 said Nigeria would stop importing refined petroleum products by 2019.
“By 2019, we should be able to completely the importation of petroleum products in this country,” Kachikwu had said.
However, with the year coming to an end, the Group Managing Director, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Mele Kyari, announced a new deadline of 2023, according to a Channels TV report on Friday.
Kyari disclosed this while signing the condensate refinery strategy programme Front End Engineering Design, adding that the strategy would deliver 20 million litres of petrol when completed.
He said it is really difficult to explain why a country that has been producing oil for over 50 years still imports petroleum products.
He disclosed that they have a clear mandate of President Buhari to end fuel importation and he believes this can be done between now and 2023. According to him, the deadline is not political but a realistic technical deadline that can be met.
Kyari said the corporation would deliver functional refineries and support partners on projects that would make petrol available across the country in other to meet the target.
According to him, “First, we will deliver on our refineries to make them work and significant work has gone into that and we believe that we can deliver on this.
“Secondly, we will support our partners to deliver on their projects that will make gasoline (petrol) and other products available, which are essentially the many other refinery project interventions that are going on that we know and we support all of them.”
The NNPC is currently the sole importer of petrol in the country.