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FG to explore opportunities in petrochemical industry

Egypt lines up $6.8 billion of Kuwaiti investment for energy projects

The Federal Government has indicated an interest to explore the abundant opportunities in the petrochemical industry to boost the county’s dwindling economy.

The Executive Director/CEO of the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), Segun Awolowo gave the indication on Friday during the 2021 budget defence before the House Committee on Commerce.

Awolowo stated that the Council was to have a technical session with the representatives from the States for the National Committee on Export Promotion which was canceled.

He said: “Part of the report that I was to present, which I will share with this committee, is the status report on the 22 products that we selected for the ‘Zero Oil’.

“We were able to track it down: for example, for cashew, we were on 170,000 metric tonnes and it has increased now to 220,000MT. This is a new market we have created. We are also processing. Nigeria cannot continue to export raw materials. So, we are processing cashew in different states.

“Petrochemicals, for example, with the refinery coming up and that is the greatest reason why we are looking at the ‘Zero Oil’ plan is petrochemical.

“Nigeria is a petroleum economy but we were zero in petrochemical sales which were about $150 billion annually globally. Nigeria was not there.

“The ‘Zero Oil’ plan was strategically taken across the country and we have visited about 26 states and companies. One of the first sets of people we sat with Alhaji Aliko Dangote and that was why he was encouraged to go into petrochemicals, and that is why he is building that refinery.

“Just this morning, there was a report; they were asking Aliko about putting his shares on the London Stock Exchange and he said no, that he was not ready for that now.

Read also: How NEPC is driving economic revival through ‘zero oil plan’-Awolowo

“On cement, he is looking at export. The two things we discussed with Aliko were petrochemicals and cement so that Nigeria can have foreign exchange. That is the traction we have gain in every sector. I think it is now next week that we are having the meeting, here in Abuja”.

Meanwhile, the Managing Director of the Nigerian Oil and Gas Free Zone Authority, Umana Okoh disclosed that President Muhammadu Buhari recently approved some new free zones for Akwa Ibom and the Lagos States.

Okoh who also appeared before the Committee for the budget defence said the new free zones are promoted by very strong foreign investors who are coming to build petrochemical plants, fertilizer plants, refineries, amongst others.

“So this will impact the economy positively. We have obligations because the investors are not going to do everything we have to make sure that a proper immigration office is established, a proper Customs Office is established”, he stated.

This was just as members of the Committee uncovered series of extra-budgetary expenditures in the financial report of the agency, including unauthorized utilisation of multi-million naira internally generated revenue on unapproved Expenditure in breach of the provisions of Sections 88 and 89 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).

Others are: N120 million sitting allowances for Directors; N45 million spent on Entertainment and hospitality; N11 million spent on new vehicles procured at the sum of N99 million; N64 million spent on fumigation; N97 million spent on transport and travels after the purchase of official vehicles; N12 million spent on communication expenses and an additional sum of N38 million on media and publicity;

The lawmakers also expressed grave concerns over the unapproved payment for legal service on the suit filed by some stakeholders on the Federal Government’s resolution to cede some functions of NEPZA to the Oil and Gas Free Zone Authority.

Chairman of the Committee, Femi Fakeye directed the agency to reappear next Friday, November 6, 2002, with an audited report for further investigation.