Ajuri Ngelale, the Senior Special Assistant on Public Affairs to President Bola Tinubu has disclosed that having more refineries in Nigeria will not reduce the cost of fuel.
Ngelale noted that people often think if the country’s refineries were working, fuel would automatically be cheap for Nigerians at the pump.
While speaking in a recent interview on TVC News, he described such an idea as a myth.
Ngelale when asked if petrol would be cheap with more refineries in place said, “That is a myth, it does not happen anywhere in the world, even if we had the most refineries producing the most PMS in the world, you would find that the most prolific PMS producers with their refineries do not charge different from the countries without refineries. I am not saying that we should not have refineries, but there are benefits to having working refineries.
“This is why phase one of our Port Harcourt Refinery is coming on stream in December 2023 and phase two by the end of 2024. Dangote Refinery is already up and is going to start dishing out products very soon.
“BUA 200,000 bpd Refinery is coming up in Akwa Ibom, we are going to have an excess supply that we can export internationally.
“The point I am making on this is that the reason why the price at the pump will not go down irrespective of what our refining capacity is as a country is that nobody spends tens of billions of dollars on building a refinery because of charity or corporate social responsibility, they do it to make money.”
Ngelale notes that fuel pump prices fluctuate with the global crude oil rates. “When crude oil prices are high, fuel pump prices will be high,” he stated, emphasizing that this trend isn’t unique to Nigeria.
While refineries in Nigeria might not guarantee cheaper fuel, Ngelale pointed out they would save the nation significant transportation and logistics expenses, which currently amount to hundreds of millions annually.
Detailing the financial implications, Ngelale highlighted the $10 billion spent yearly on foreign exchange earnings to transform crude into refined premium motor spirit (PMS) and the accompanying transportation costs would be eliminated.