Nigerians should be proud of fuel import from Niger Republic — Timipre Sylva

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Timipre Sylva

Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, says Nigerians should be proud that the Federal is set to resume the importation of petroleum products from neighbouring Republic.

Sylva said contrary to comments by critics of the , the plan by the Federal to resume fuel importation from its West African brother should not be seen as ‘an embarrassment’ but rather as a means of encouraging intra-regional trade.

The PUNCH had reported that the Ministry of Petroleum Resources announced last Thursday in a statement that the two countries signed a Memorandum of Understanding for petroleum products transportation and storage.

According to the statement, Republic’s Soraz Refinery in Zinder, some 260km from the Nigerian border, has an installed refining capacity of 20,000 barrels per day.

The move by the Federal attracted steaming criticisms with many knocking the its inability to keep the country’s refineries running.

But reacting on Monday evening while featuring on Channels Television’s Today programme monitored by The PUNCH, the minister said Nigeria is a big that needs excess fuel products manufactured in countries.

Sylva said, “I don’t see that as an embarrassment at all. As a country, Nigeria is a big , we need products, even if all refineries were functioning, we will still need extra products.

Republic produces and they are landlocked as a country. They have a refinery that produces in excess of what they require as a country and they offered to sell to in Nigeria because this is a bigger .

“In the spirit of regional cooperation, regional trade development, we decided to buy from them. I don’t see anything wrong with that. If your neighbour is producing something that is required in your country and you buy from him, why is that a big problem?

“So, we agreed with Niger to buy the excess of what they don’t require in Niger because this is a big market.”

“Nigerians should be proud that we are doing that to encourage sub-regional trade because we have been talking about sub-regional trade for a long time and this is how should be between neighbouring countries. Niger should import from what they have and we should be able to import from Niger what they have. Let encourage intra-regional trade and this is one good example of trading within West Africa,” he added.