President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday commissioned the 5,000 barrels per day modular refinery built by Waltersmith Group in Imo State.
President Buhari, who commissioned the new modular refinery virtually, said the refinery will enable Nigeria to export petroleum products to neighbouring countries and other markets.
The 5,000 barrels per day Waltersmith Modular Refinery is the first phase of 50,000 barrels per day combined capacity plant planned for Imo State, according to the Group.
Buhari commended Waltersmith Group, an indigenous oil firm, and the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board for the collaboration that led to the actualisation of the modular refinery.
President Buhari, therefore, directed the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, the Department of Petroleum Resources and all other relevant government agencies to provide Waltersmith all the necessary support in terms of access to crude oil and condensate feedstock.
Buhari said, “We rolled out our refining roadmap in 2018, to address challenges in the downstream sector. After many years of government giving out modular refining licences without any coming on-stream, we are today seeing a commissioning within two years.
“The plan to commence the expansion of this refinery to 50,000bpd capacity, to refine crude oil and condensate, is a demonstration of the economic reform Nigeria is undergoing.
“The realisation of the refinery roadmap will ultimately lead us to becoming a net exporter of petroleum products, not only to our neighbouring countries but to other wide markets,” he said.
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Industry Experts Highlight Urgent Need to Combat Influx of Substandard Auto Spare Parts in Nigeria
In the Nigerian automobile sector, industry experts are sounding the alarm about the escalating influx of substandard spare parts and its detrimental impact on vehicle safety and consumer trust.
According to a report by the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), 95 percent of auto spare parts imported into the country fail to meet the minimum acceptable standards.
This alarming revelation has ignited concerns among automotive professionals and stakeholders.
Yusuf Adah, Chairman of Automedics Motor International, emphasized the gravity of the issue, attributing the surge in substandard vehicle spare parts to unscrupulous dealers and importers within the industry.
Adah lamented the lack of commitment to excellence and integrity among these elements, making it exceedingly challenging to confront the problem effectively.
Adah also underscored the significance of Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs), despite their higher prices. He asserted that OEM parts prove their value over time by consistently delivering superior performance and safety.
“Car owners have several options to choose from. But it is very easy to differentiate between OEM and substandard spare parts,” Adah stated, reiterating the urgency of addressing this menace.
Moreover, Adah voiced concerns about customer satisfaction and the shortage of skilled talent within the Nigerian automobile industry.
He called for collective efforts to tackle these challenges and enhance the overall health of the sector.
Pankaj Bohhra, Chief Operating Officer of Fixit45, echoed these sentiments, emphasizing the critical role of high-quality spare parts in prolonging the lifespan of vehicles and improving workshop efficiency.
He also highlighted skill gaps and infrastructure limitations as pressing issues hampering the sector’s growth.
The Nigeria Customs Service has recognized the need for collaboration among stakeholders to combat smuggling, a primary driver of counterfeit automotive spare parts in the country.
Their document titled “Enhancing the Role of Nigeria Customs Service and Fostering Collaborative Efforts with Stakeholders to Prevent the Inflow of Substandard or Counterfeit Spare Parts” outlines the formidable challenges in curbing this illicit trade.
As concerns grow over the safety and reliability of vehicles in Nigeria, industry experts are advocating for immediate action to combat the proliferation of substandard auto spare parts and safeguard the nation’s roadways.
Government’s Concrete Road Plan Threatens Cement Prices, Warns Nigerian Cement Producers
The Cement Producers Association of Nigeria has issued a stern warning that the Federal Government’s ambitious plan to introduce concrete roads could lead to a significant hike in cement prices, potentially reaching an alarming N9,000 per bag, up from the current N5,000.
The association is urging the government to tackle the persistent issue of cement price fluctuations and ensure Nigerians do not have to pay more than N5,600 per bag.
In a joint statement released by the National Chairman, Prince David Iweta, and National Secretary, Chief Reagan Ufomba, the association commended the Works Minister’s advocacy for cement-made roads but cautioned against potential consequences if the supply-side challenges are not addressed comprehensively.
The cement producers proposed a solution, emphasizing the need for road designs that facilitate the concurrent use of cement technology and asphalt pavement. They argue that such designs would allow contractors ample time for investment in necessary equipment and retooling, ensuring a smoother transition.
According to the statement, “Our findings across the country indicate that cement prices can surge to as high as N6,000 per bag during the rainy season. With the Minister of Works’ endorsement of cement technology and the President’s housing directives, we predict prices could exceed N9,000 per bag in the dry season if proactive measures are not taken.”
The association also urged the government to expedite the backward integration policy initiated during the late Yar’adua administration, which had started to positively impact cement availability and affordability.
They emphasized the necessity of breaking monopolies and favoritism in the sector, urging the government to expand participation with companies demonstrating verifiable local investment.
They further called for harmonization between fiscal and monetary policies, intervention in the foreign exchange market, restructuring of manufacturers’ bad loans, and a review of palliative measures to revive manufacturing concerns and reduce dependence on elusive foreign direct investment.
The Cement Producers Association of Nigeria’s statement underscores the urgency of addressing these issues to ensure the stability of the cement industry and maintain affordable prices for Nigerians, especially amid ambitious infrastructure projects.
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