A former Director, Budgeting Department of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Dr Titus Okunrounmu, has called on the Nigerian government to channel effort at rebuilding the country’s refineries to generate more revenue, rather than stick to exporting its crude oil.
Okunrounmu made the call at the backdrop of a recent projection by the International Monetary Fund on Nigeria’s economy, the News Agency of Nigeria reported.
The fund had on Tuesday revised its earlier projection of Nigeria’s economy from 1.5 per cent announced in January to 2.5 per cent in 2021.
According to Okunrounmu, “If the country could refine all the crude products we have, some countries of the world will be coming to Nigeria to buy from us. The country’s refineries should be working so as to generate employment and provide all by-products that the nation needs to make Nigeria a great country.”
“Our balance of payment will be buoyant and the nation’s exchange rate will be stabilised,” he added.
The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation is working to revamp the country’s refineries, which are currently shut down entirely and have produced little to no fuel over the past decade due to poor maintenance.
Last month, the country’s cabinet had signed off on a $1.5bn rehabilitation plan, funded largely by Afrexim Bank, for the Port Harcourt refinery complex, which has a capacity of 210,000 barrels per day.
In faulting the IMF’s projection, however, Okunrounmu said Nigeria’s economy could grow by between seven per cent and 10 per cent annually if the necessary measures are put in place and there are emphatic efforts in diversifying the nation’s economy.
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