Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, has come out to say that at the moment, importing petrol, is cheaper than producing the product in the country’s refineries.
Not only that, he also said that even if Nigeria’s 4 official refineries were working at 100% capacity, they would only be able to supply 50% of the country’s petrol needs. But what really beats me is the refusal of the government to legalise the many mini-refineries that currently operate illegally in the South East and South South.
These refineries currently do their business in the black market, but at a time like this, when long vehicle queues in filling stations are eating up manhours and draining the life force off the economy, why can’t the government just deregulate the sector by allowing these mini-refinery guys to become legal for a low fee, and then regulating the quality of what they bring to the market?
At this point in time, we should be taking of conserving foreign exchange and buying Naija, even in the petroleum sector. A major crude oil producer shouldn’t have fuel scarcity as one of its problems.