The Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) said on Thursday that the multibillion-dollar Dangote Refinery inaugurated by President Muhammadu Buhari in Lagos would go a long way in solving the country’s perennial fuel problem.
The Executive Secretary of NEITI, Dr. Orji Ogbonnaya Orji, in a statement issued in Abuja by Mrs. Obiageli Onuorah, Deputy Director/Head Communications & Stakeholders Management, NEITI, described the development as a huge national relief.
“We welcome with high expectations the completion and commissioning of the multibillion-dollar Dangote Refinery by President Muhammadu Buhari in Lagos,” Orji was quoted as saying.
He stated that NEITI, as a member of the global Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative with domestic responsibility to enthrone transparency and accountability in the oil, gas, and mining sectors, was delighted that the refinery came on stream during debates on the removal of fuel subsidies.
Orji said apart from the huge revenue losses, NEITI’s independent report on subsidy payments between 2005 and 2021 disclosed over N13.7 trillion as having been expended on subsidies, capital flight, and other numerous challenges over fuel importation.
“The take-off of Dangote Refinery with 650,000 barrels of daily refining capacity will largely address Nigeria’s domestic demands for refined petroleum products within the short and medium term.
“NEITI salutes the determination, courage, and huge confidence demonstrated by Alhaji Dangote in the huge investments in the downstream sector, which will address the issues of product availability, job opportunities, and value creation.
“The Executive Secretary projects that the commissioning of the Dangote refinery will end fuel importation in Nigeria and subsequently save the nation the over $7.3 billion projected to be spent on fuel subsidies in the first half of the year 2023,” he said.
The NEITI boss said that the organization expected the Dangote refinery to fully comply with the principles of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), of which the country is a signatory.
“As a major player in the oil and gas industry, NEITI will soon commence engagements with the Dangote Refinery on the specific issues around the 20 percent equity interest that the NNPC has taken in the refinery on behalf of the Federation.”
He urged the conglomerate to distance itself from a monopolistic business model and embrace corporate social responsibility, openness, and accountability, which allow for civic engagement and free enterprise.