Minister of State for Petroleum Dr Ibe Kachikwu has revealed that Nigeria, Africa’s top crude oil producer, spent about 4.74 trillion naira (about US$14.9 billion) to import petrol and other refined petroleum products last year.
The importation represented 30 per cent of the total foreign exchange outlay of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
“The importation of petroleum products between January and December of last year amounted to about 20 million tonnes,” he told the Senate on Thursday.
Dr Kachikwu was answering questions regarding plans to refurbish Nigeria’s creaky oil refineries.
Referring to domestic refining capacity, the minister said the nation produced six litres out of a total consumption of about 35 million litres per day. “In the midst of this sort of statistics, it was absolutely critical that we move in to try to end importation of products, improve our refineries and get them up to 100 per cent,” he added.
Mr Kachikwu said they were looking for financing for the repair and upgrade of the refineries.
Kachikwu said the government would invite the original builders of the three refineries to undertake the repairs but stressed that it had not selected any financier for the repairs.