Some economists and oil and gas expert have backed the Federal Executive Council’s (FEC) approval of the acquisition of 20 per cent minority stakes by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) in the Dangote Petroleum and Petrochemical Refinery. They made their views known in separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Thursday in Lagos.
NAN reports that Chief Timipre Sylva, Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, had announced the approval after the virtual FEC meeting presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on Wednesday at the Presidential Villa, Abuja. Sylva had said the acquisition was in the sum of $2.76 billion.
Reacting to the development, Prof. Chris Onalo, Registrar and Chief Executive Officer, Institute of Credit Administration, said oil and gas remains the major source of revenue for the government which requires massive investment in the sector Onalo said the Dangote Group had taken the bull by the horns to make a huge investment that was needed to jumpstart the industry and therefore needed the support of all and sundry including the government.
He said the investment from the NNPC was to support the billions already committed by Dangote Group in the world largest single train refinery. “The refinery is an expression of massive confidence in the oil and gas economy of this country.
“It shows that the sector can take Nigeria out of economic woes. I think it is a welcome development and those of us who are in the public domain can’t wait too long to see that happening. “So, I will say kudos to the Dangote Group for its investment drive across the economy of this country,”Onalo said.
He added that the NNPC’s support to the refinery and others coming on stream soon would increase investors’ confidence in the sector thereby attracting the more investments.
Also, Mr Muda Yusuf, an economist and immediate-past Director-General of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), said the Dangote Refinery was of strategic national importance. “My views have always been that even though this is a private-sector project, it makes both commercial and nationalistic sense for NNPC to express a interest in it.