By Chinenye Festus:-
The Federal Government through its Minister of State for Petroleum Resources Timipre Sylva has responded to the backlash received from Nigerians on the Federal Government’s decision to import petroleum products from the Niger Republic.
You would recall that last week the Federal government signed a memorandum of understanding with the government of the Niger Republic for the importation of petroleum products and this was done through the Ministry of Petroleum Resources.
Sylva who appeared on Channels Television program on Monday 23rd said Nigerians should be proud that the Federal government made the decision to import refined petroleum products from Niger Republic because they are our neighbors.
He noted that Niger used to be one of the poorest nations in the world but they have excelled through their resilience to produce refined petroleum products at a greater level than its very rich neighbor Nigeria.
These were his words :
“I don’t see that as an embarrassment at all. As a country, Nigeria is a big market, we need products, even if all our refineries were functioning, we will still need extra products.
Niger Republic produces oil 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 us in Nigeria because this is a bigger market.
“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 neighbor 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 it should be between neighbouring countries.
“Niger should import from us what we have and we should be able to import from Niger what they have. Let us encourage intra-regional” Sylva said
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