Speaker, House of Representatives, Hon Aminu Waziri Tambuwal has revealed that the country spent 3 trillion Naira or approximately $18 billion on the importation of petroleum products between January and October, 2011, pointing out that approximately, 1.4 trillion naira or $8 billlion was used for subsidy.
Tambuwal who made this known at the 3rd Downstream Stakeholders’ Conference with theme: “Achieving Domestic and Regional Capacity Requirements for Refined Petroleum Products”, held in Abuja noted that from the figures available, about 35 million litres of petroleum products were imported daily which represented 85% of domestic demand. He stressed that the subsidy paid in the said period exceeded the Federal Capital Expenditure.
Tambuwal represented by the Deputy Speaker, Hon. Emeka Ihedioha made it clear that the current state of affairs as regards importation of petroleum products is completely unsustainable as well as portends consequences for the national security if care is not taken.
Declaring the conference open, he assured Nigerians that the House of Representatives has been conscious of the great impact self-sufficiency in refined petroleum products would have on the economy and the citizens, stressing that the Petroleum Industry Bill has been under consideration by the National Assembly.
According to him, The House of Representatives has subjected the bill to serious scrutiny and is committed to passing it soon. “No excuses or reasons can justify the continued lack of adequate refining capacity in Nigeria. I enjoin all the participants at this conference to find ways and means of increasing the capacity of Nigeria through both public and private sectors to achieve self-sufficiency in refined petroleum products.” He stated.
Meanwhile, Chairman, House Committee on Petroleum Resources (Downstream), Hon Dakuku Adol Peterside, said the conference was a critical engagement of House of Representatives with other stakeholders in the downstream industry to see what could be done to build up the capacity to deliver refined products to Nigerians and for Nigeria to serve as a hub for downstream industry in the whole African sub region.
He further stated that the conference would provide the opportunity for the legislators to be better informed, as well as situation that could generate a few new bills that would address gas as well as giving room for a synergy between the legislators and the stakeholders in the industry.