The Federal Government has said it will set a time frame for the privatisation of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation and the refineries before the end of this year.
As part of the deregulation of the downstream oil and gas sector, the Special Adviser to the President on Economic Matters, Dr. Adeyemi Dipeolu, said the government would set a deadline for the country to be self-sufficient in refined petroleum products and become a net exporter of same.
Speaking at the Nigeria-South Africa Chamber of Commerce breakfast meeting in Lagos, Dipeolu highlighted the importance of value addition to crude oil before exportation.
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo had recently advised the Federal Government to privatise the NNPC to end what he termed as the monumental fraud in the oil sector.
Obasanjo had said he would have privatised the company 20 years ago if he knew that it was going to be used as a platform to siphon public funds by succeeding administrations.
As part of the government’s strategic implementation plan, Dipeolu stated, “We need to pay attention to goods being manufactured here and improve the manufacturing capacity of Nigerian companies.
“The first step to industrialisation of Nigeria has to be agro-allied so that the raw materials will be available for the manufacturers.”
Speaking on the reforms that Nigerians should expect in the agricultural sector, he said the government’s focus this year was to achieve sustainability in tomato paste production, adding that rice sufficiency would be the target in 2017, while local production of wheat would be the focus in 2018.
In addition, the special adviser said the aim of the government was to improve the country’s ease of doing business ranking by 20 places.
The 2016 World Bank report placed Nigeria as number 169 among 189 countries in its ease of doing business ranking.
However, Dipeolu stated that the plan was to attain the 149th position through the implementation of fast-track measures for business approvals; visa application and issuance processes; and land title acquisition, among other bottlenecks that businesses face in the country.