By Edith Ike-Eboh/Yetunde Bada
The Federal Government says it will support investment in the construction of modular refineries to ensure the success of the initiative.
The Senior Technical Adviser to the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Mr. Rabiu Suleiman, disclosed this at the ongoing Nigeria International Petroleum Summit (NIPS) in Abuja.
He added that government would also guarantee crude oil supply to modular refineries in the Niger Delta.
Suleiman stated that in investing in the modular refineries, the Federal Government or any of its agencies could acquire stakes in the projects.
He said the Federal Government was already in talks with a number of its agencies and likely financiers like the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), International Finance Corporation (IFC) and Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) among others, to provide contributory finance to investors in modular refineries in the Niger Delta region.
In addition, he also noted that the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), and some state governments had equally indicated their willingness to invest in the refineries and take up equity positions in them.
To show government’s commitment to the modular refineries’ initiative, he noted that the government would also be granting custom duties and tax waivers to the investors to ensure the refineries projects take off and remain profitable.
According to him, these were parts of government’s plans to incentivise modular refining and create jobs in the Niger Delta.
He said, “Nobody wants to invest heavy amount of money in places where you are not very sure of doing the business without being interfered in one way or the other.
“ Modular refining is a small ticket business and it has very long impacts.
“We have a lot of programme that will support modular refining initiative, and a lot of incentives have been put together to support this initiatives, right from customs duty waivers.
“Anybody who wants to invest in modular refining in the Niger Delta is going to benefit from such custom duty waivers and tax reliefs that is being discussed at very senior level and we have reached a very serious level and that is going to happen.” he said
On financing, he said government had engaged, the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN; Bank of Industry, we have engaged Sovereign Wealth Fund and the Infrastructure Bank.
“ We have engaged a lot of them including the IFC and the rest.
“We have all worked with them and they all promised to make contributory finance into that. Only two weeks ago, we engaged with NDDC, the Managing Director made a commitment that they are going to see how they can put in some money even if it means to pick up equity either in one or two or three of the refineries.
“State governments have said they want to be part. So, we are encouraging a lot of financing. In the next two weeks, we intend to call for an investors’ engagement forum that will address some of the funding arrangements that we intend to bring on board.” he said
Suleiman further stated that oil companies would be compelled to sell crude oil to modular refineries operators instead of shipping their crude outside the country. (NAN)