From Romanus Ugwu, Abuja
The South-South Emerging Leaders Forum (SELF) has commended President Muhammadu Buhari and Minister of State for Petroleum Timipre Sylva for the approval of $1.5 billion (N600 billion) for the rehabilitation of the Port Harcourt refinery.
Describing the approval made by the Federal Executive Council (FEC) as exciting in a statement issued on Thursday in Abuja and signed by its national coordinator, Barr Benjamin Kolowei, SELF said that the move to fix the refinery will positively impact the economic activities in the South-South region.
Sylva, who briefed reporters after the FEC meeting on Wednesday, had claimed the rehabilitation will be done in three phases of 18, 24 and 44 months.
Reacting to it, SELF expressed confidence that apart from improving economic activities in the region, the FEC approval will also create massive direct and indirect employment opportunities for the people.
‘Our forum received the news to fix Port Harcourt refinery with great joy. The move shows the commitment of the current administration to tackle the challenges facing our oil sector head-on,’ the statement read.
‘We believe that if the refinery starts operating at its capacity, it will improve a lot of economic activities in the South-South region especially and the country at large will benefit from the project. Specifically, there will be employment not only for the people of the region but Nigerians generally.
‘We are happy that the administration has taken a bold step not only to fix the refinery but the operations and maintenance, which are the major issues are considered in the approval,’ he said.
Commending the President and the FEC for the approval, SELF singled out the Minister of State for Petroleum for ‘his dedication, commitment, hardship and vision to bring about a turn-around in the Nigerian oil industry.’