The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, has promised to ensure that every cent of the $1.5 billion proposed for the rehabilitation of the Port Harcourt refinery is accounted for.
He made the pledge during an interview aired on Channels Television’s Sunday Politics where he boldly looked at the camera and asked Nigerians to hold him responsible in the event of anything otherwise.
“I can look at the camera; they (Nigerians) can hold me accountable and hold this government accountable for every dollar, every cent on this project and ensure that we deliver a refinery that works,” the minister said.
The decision of the Federal Government to rehabilitate the refinery in Rivers State with the sum has triggered debates in the country.
While the government’s critics accused it of corruption, others were concerned that adding such an amount of money to the country’s debt burden would be dangerous.
Sylva, however, stated that there was no cause for alarm as the government does not intend to borrow all the funds to rehabilitate the refinery.
He noted that a subsidiary of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) – Nigerian Petroleum Development Company Ltd (NPDC) – and others would contribute the money to be used for the project.
According to the minister, part of the money will come from NNPC’s internally generated revenue and the Federal appropriation, while a little fraction will come from the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank).
He also explained how the repayment plan was designed, saying the operations of the refinery would pay back the funds to be used.
“The NNPC is going to spend about $200 million from its internally generating revenue sources, while the Federal appropriation will put in about $800 million and it is already broken down into three parts,” he disclosed.
Sylva added, “The 2020 appropriation will give $350 million, 2021 appropriation will give another $350 million, and 2022 appropriation will give another $100 million, making it all $800 million from appropriation, and then the rest of it will now come from Afreximbank.”