The National Assembly will pass the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) which is currently before it by April 2021, Mr Timipre Sylva has said.
Sylva, who is the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, disclosed this on Thursday at the weekly presidential ministerial media briefing at the State House in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
He told reporters that the bill would not suffer a setback, going by all indications from the leadership of the National Assembly.
The minister stated that if the nation must diversify from petroleum, it must go in the direction of gas.
He stressed the importance for Nigeria to steer away from oil to gas, adding that the 20-year-old PIB would attract a lot of investments to the gas sector.
On the issue of having functional refineries in the country, Sylva faulted Senator Dino Melaye’s analysis of the proposed rehabilitation of the Port Harcourt refinery.
According to him, Melaye is no expert on refinery and should, therefore, not impress his views on an area he is not conversant with.
The minister said the Federal Government remained committed to its promise to deliver a functional refinery to Nigerians in due time.
While the government plans to spend $1.5 billion to fund the rehabilitation of the Port Harcourt refinery in Rivers State, several individuals and groups say this will add to the nation’s debt burden.
But Sylva has since doused the concerns, saying the government does not intend to borrow all the funds to rehabilitate the refinery which he said would be functional in 18 months.
He disclosed 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, $200 million will come from NNPC’s internally generating revenue sources, while the Federal appropriation will put in about $800 million.
He added that the remaining fund would come from the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank).