The Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Mele Kyari, has disclosed that the deregulation of the downstream sector of the oil and gas industry in Nigeria will increase investment in the refining business and facilitate exponential growth in the nation’s refining capacity.

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He made the disclosure at the African Refiners Association Week 2020 which held virtually on Tuesday.

NNPC’s spokesperson, Kennie Onateru, said in a statement that Kyari also called for deeper collaboration among downstream players across the African continent to provide solutions to challenges of substandard fuels.

Kyari said though the idea of price stabilisation which led to the introduction of fuel subsidy in the 1970s was noble, it had grown into a huge financial burden on the nation’s treasury over the years.

He said this necessitated its removal in March.

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Kyari said the move would not only free up much-needed cash to fund infrastructural development but would also eliminate market distortion, foster competition between operators and get more private sector players to build refineries across the country.

He was quoted as saying, “It is important to note at this point that the future of our continent does not just lie in our ability to unlock value from our vast natural resources or powering an industrial and economic revolution, but also in our ability to implement proven refining solutions that consider the broader public health implications of our business decisions.”

He said the NNPC was making concerted efforts to carry out holistic rehabilitation of its refineries in Port Harcourt, Warri and Kaduna.

On his part, the Executive Secretary of ARA, Anibor Kragha, commended the NNPC for its efforts to bolster the continents’ refining capacity.

He said the association along with other stakeholders would support the corporation to achieve its objectives.