The Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) has appealed to the Federal Government to engage banks in financing the building of modular refineries in the country.
Alhaji Debo Ahmed, Chairman, Western Zone of IPMAN, made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos on Wednesday against the background of shortage on importation on petroleum products.
Ahmed said that investing in modular refineries would address refining challenges in the country, adding that government should review its policy on refined products to encourage investors into the sector.
According to him, building a modular refinery is not easy, apart from citing refinery beside the sea; one can as well cite it near a marginal oil field.
“Finance is the major reason why most investors in the modular refineries abandoned it.
“No bank is ready to give loan to any investor in modular refineries; that was why it was just only two out of 40 investors given licences that were able to build it.
“Government should engage the banks to provide the finance needed for building modular refineries,’’ he said.
The IPMAN boss also urged the government to overhaul the sector to encourage private investors, stressing that it is obvious that finance was the problem of building modular refineries.
He said that there was need for government to work with the licence owners to address the issue of sourcing for finance from the banks to build the refineries.
Ahmed said that financing modular refineries by banks would go a long way to address petroleum products challenges in most depots in the country.
He said that currently the five depots within the South West, comprising Ejigbo, Mosinmi, Ore, Ilorin and Ibadan, hardly got 30 trucks of petrol for IPMAN members.
“Modular refineries should be encouraged and supported in Nigeria because NNPC had no capacity to meet the nation’s total petrol demand.
“NNPC being the sole importer and distributor of petrol is not good for the nation’s economy because many marketers were deprived of importing due to inability to access foreign exchange,” according to Ahmed.
He said that fuel scarcity would only abate if the NNPC could massively import petrol and distribute with IPMAN, Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria and the NNPC to all retail outlets or the corporation’s mega stations.
He suggested that 60 per cent should be allocated to IPMAN; MOMAN 20 per cent; and the remaining 20 per cent to the NNPC (mega stations).
“The fuel scarcity will definitely continue; there is no product in the system. NNPC has no capacity to do the job they are doing now; that is importing sufficient petroleum products.
“Because of subsidy, they disallowed marketers from importing and as such the importation cannot meet the demand,” he said. (NAN)