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Saturday, 3 November 2012

Goodluck Jonathan vows to end petroleum products importation

President Jonathan vowed to end petroleum products importation as he received the reports of the Petroleum Revenue Special Task Force on the probity and accountability in operations of the Petroleum Industry. He stated that the committee was set up with the aim of sincerely tackling the problems in the petroleum industry and ensure that Nigeria does not continue to lag behind in the oil industry.

“Oil is our mainstay and we have to do more especially when we consider the fact that almost all the African coastal states are discovering oil and if we don’t really review our approach to oil industry and come up with a robust plan in terms of our relationship with investors and others, it is either they will abandon us and go to other country or they be exploiting us at our own detriment and go and invest in other places and so we feel we need to look at the area of government and control”

“On the Task Force on Refineries, people use to yab us that we import what we have and export what we don’t have. We have crude oil yet we are busy importing kerosene, diesel, aviation fuel, petrol and these are products of crude oil, why do we have crude oil and still be importing the derivatives of crude oil”
Adding that Nigeria must place her focus right.
“We should be having retail filling stations all over the Africa and the world and generate revenue for Nigerians, we must give ourselves a framework and that is the reason why we want to deregulate to make sure the private sector takes over because it is disgraceful that we are importing any of this petroleum products. If in the next 10 years, this country is still importing petroleum products, then those of us who have the opportunity to be here, when we die they should write something behind us saying we did not rule this country well”

According to him, “I am interested in giving myself and the government a time frame to announce to Nigerians when we must stop importing petroleum products, I was waiting for the report of the Special Task Force on Refineries and now that e have received the report, we will look at it and later tell Nigerians the time we will stop importing petroleum products.

We also want to stop importing rice in 2016, we spend N1billion everyday on importation of rice”
The President noted that he was not surprised about the disagreements amongst the committee members saying that since it concerned money such was expected.
“On the Petroleum Revenue Task Force, anything about money is always a problem, there may be some disagreements, am not surprise of some disagreements but when you listen, I don’t think they are major issues, there are situations that government set up committee and there will be what they call minority report where people write completely different report disagreeing substantially from the main report”
He assured that warring parties that government will take the majority and minority reports and urged people with different opinions will be accommodated when government decide to act on the reports.

“What I will advise the committee members, initially I heard some stories before coming here but I said I will listen to the people and if there is any fundamental issues, I will tell them that for the sake of the country and all Nigerians, they should go back within two weeks and put report together but from what I have listened to, I don’t think we need that
What I will advise is that any member who has certain issues, observations should please write it and bring it either directly to me through Chief of Staff or Minister of Petroleum Resources

The issue of finance, if it borders on corrupt practices or outright stealing, it would go to EFCC for investigation, so nobody will lose anything. If there are errors in calculation or misinformation from the relevant agencies of government, we can filter that out and it would not be used against anybody”
“The interest of government is setting up the committees is to help us to do what is right Let me assure Nigerians that government has no interest in hiding anything, this report is not to investigate anybody in government, it is to look at the oil industry and tell government the best approach to maximize our revenue base”

“Even though the chairman said that committee members became board member of NNPC, that does not disqualify them from being members of committee because when you set up committees, you bring in some people who are in the establishment to be able to guide in a way to give information”
He defended their appointment adding that there is nothing wrong in any of them being appointed anywhere.
“They don’t have to resign to do the work they are suppose to do. I trust all of you because I have interacted with some of you. I interacted with Ribadu when I was Deputy Governor because you were hunting all of us”

“The two of you have similar attributes and that is you are both patriotic Nigerians, you want the best for this country so both of you cannot disagree”

Others members of the committee many of who did not attend the event include:

Mallam Abba Kyari, Ms. Benedicta Molokwu, Mr. Supo Sasore, SAN, Mr. Tony Idigbe, SAN, Mr. Anthony George-Ikoli, SAN, Dr. (Mrs.) Omolara Akanji and Mr. Olisa Agbakoba, SAN
Others are, Mr. Ituah Ighodalo, Mr. Bon Otti, Prof. Olusegun Okunnu, Mallam Samaila Zubairu, Mr.Ignatius Adegunle, Mr. Gerald Ilukwe, Rep. of FIRS and Rep. of FMF Incorporated.

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