The Nigerian Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu, has said that biofuels would soon become the West African country’s foreign exchange earner, if “we can apply both our mind and might into it”.
According to local newspaper Leadership, Kachikwu made the statement at a sensitisation workshop on biofuels development in Nigeria with the theme, ‘Biofuels: Nigeria’s New Economy’, held at the Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF) Auditorium in Abuja.
“Time has come for us to explore alternative energy and revenue sources with the abundance of land and great vegetation available at our disposal. I believe biofuels will soon become our foreign exchange earner, if we can apply both our mind and might into it,” the Minister said.
Represented by Tim Okon, a director in the ministry, the minister, who advised that the country needed to reduce its dependence on fossil fuel and imported petroleum products, noted that the only way to ensure sufficient energy supply to every nook and cranny of the country was to deploy alternative energy.
Also speaking, the Executive Secretary, Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA), Victor Shidok said the capacity building workshop was organised to bring to the notice of all Nigerians bold initiatives of government being designed for a more productive energy mix, according to the Leadership.
Speaking on the economic value of biofuels, he said: “Let me affirm that PPPRA is well aware of the immense socio-economic benefits derivable from domestic production of biofuels. We dare say that the expected increase in agricultural activities is bound to translate to enormous job creation, and by extension, contribute to the nation’s Gross Domestic Products (GDP) growth.
“We are therefore organising this capacity building and sensitisation workshop to bring to the notice of all Nigerians bold policy initiatives of government being designed for a more productive energy mix, consistent with global trends and expected to assist in our industrial development and growth.”
Presenting a paper titled, ‘Biofuels: Nigeria’s New Reality’, Mohammed Ibrahim suggested that for Nigeria to succeed in achieving the proposed turnaround, the nation must have a legal and regulatory framework, specifically an act of parliament to drive the bioeconomy revolution.
He further gave other suggestions to include the setting up of pragmatic targets in percentile of hybrid blends (gasoline, diesel and kerosene sales) and the development of an incentive regime for the promotion of biofuels production in Nigeria.
In another development, Kachikwu disclosed that Nigeria will stop importing refined petroleum products by 2019.
He made the disclosure at the public hearing on the review of petroleum pricing template for premium motor spirit (PMS) organised by the House of Representatives.
The Minister observed that within two years, the federal government revived refineries that were non-functional to contribute about eight million out of over 20 million litres of petrol consumed in the country daily.
He explained that government had initiated a model which attracted foreign investors to partner with the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to repair the country’s refineries within a period of two years.