By Yusuf Yunus
Dr Ayodele Oni, Partner, Bloomfield Law Practice, says the newly inaugurated Dangote Refinery will reduce the importation of refined petroleum products.
Oni made the assertion in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Tuesday in Lagos.
He said that the 650,000pbd refinery would substantially increase the nation’s local refining capacity, and create job opportunities for Nigerians.
”Satistics have shown that the construction stage of the facility created no fewer than 10,000 direct and indirect jobs.
”It is expected that the operational phase should create even more jobs for our people,” he said.
Oni stated that with the facility, the country would become a major exporter of refined petroleum products.
The expert said the nation stood a great chance of earning foreign exchange from the operations of the refinery.
”Apart from its implications to revenue earning, the refinery will improve the country’s balance of trade and balance of payment,” he said.
Oni said it was globally a good practice to regulate the oil sector with the right legislations.
”That is the reason we have the Petroleum Industry Act. What should not be regulated is pricing,” he said.
He said that the ability of Dangote Refinery to reduce the cost of petrol was dependent on whether subsidy would be removed.
”If subsidy is removed, prices may go up, but the increase will not be as high as it is now that the nation is importing refined products.
”If subsidy remains and Nigeria starts refining locally, it means that what the government pays as subsidy will be less,” he added.
Oni urged Dangote Refinery to build healthy relationship with critical stakeholders in the oil and gas sector.
He also urged the Federal Government to revamp the Port Harcourt, Warri and Kaduna refineries to make them optimally operational.
Oni said that the challenges of high cost and scarcity in the petroleum sector would be tackled if all the refineries came on stream.
”These four refineries and the newly inaugurated Dangote refinery will place Nigeria on the world map in refined products exportation,” he said.