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Buhari’s Minister told Nigerians to be proud of fuel importation from Niger Republic



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As reactions and comments flood the memorandum of understanding Buhari’s government signed with the neighbouring Niger Republic for fuel importation, Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipreye Sylva said Nigerians should be proud that the Federal Government is set to import fuel from Niger.

While speaking on Channels Television on Monday night, Sylva knocked critics of fuel importation arrangement from Republic and emphasised that it shouldn’t be seen as an embarrassing situation.

“Contrary to comments by critics of the government, the plan by the Federal Government 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.

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Niger Republic has refining installed capacity of 20,000 barrels per day in Zinder, 260 kilometre from the Nigerian border.

But Buhari’s government came under attack following announcement of fuel importation from Niger with people making woeful statements about government’s inability to fix its own refineries.

In stout defence, Sylva insisted that Nigeria is a big market that needs excess fuel products processed in other countries.

He explained, “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.

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“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 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.”

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“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.

He noted that sub-regional trade requires that Niger should import from Niger what they lack, while Nigeria should import what it lack from Niger. This, he insisted would encourage intra-regional trade and this is one good example of trading within West Africa,” he added.


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