The Federal Government has reiterated its commitment to completing the rehabilitation of the Port Harcourt Refinery, saying it would be functional within 18 months.
“Port Harcourt Refinery will work, and certainly within the next 18 months,” the Minister of State for Petroleum, Timipre Sylva said in an interview aired on Channels Television’s Sunday Politics.
The former governor of Bayelsa State equally added that the Nigerian government also plans to rehabilitate other refineries in the country, stressing that the move is not a waste of funds as believed in some quarters.
“There are plans to also fix the Warri Refinery and Kaduna Refinery and then we would get all those staff to work,” he added.
The Nigerian government had on March 17 approved $1.5 billion for the rehabilitation of the Port Harcourt Refinery, an amount which many had described as too much for the project.
But speaking during the interview, the minster debunked insinuations that the rehabilitation could have taken less than N500m.
“You see, Nigerians like to bandy figures,” Sylva stated. ” I can tell you, that that cannot be true. We are talking with the professionals.”
While many including members of the opposition have raised eyebrows over the funding for the project, with fears that borrowing for the rehabilitation would future mortgage the country’s future, he said borrowing will only form a part of the project.
“Let me tell you how this rehabilitation is going to be funded; it is not going to be all debts, we are not going to borrow all the monies that are going into the rehabilitation (project),” he added.
“Some of the money will come from NNPC’s internally generated revenue – from NPDC, some of it will come from the Federal appropriation, and just a little fraction will come from the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank).”