South-South Emerging Leaders Forum (SELF) has expressed happiness over the approval of 1.5 billion dollars (about N600 billion) by the Federal Executive Council (FEC) for rehabilitation of Port Harcourt refinery.
The forum in a statement on Thursday in Abuja, described the development as exciting and commended President Muhammadu Buhari and the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources Mr Timipre Sylva.
The statement was signed by Mr Benjamin Kolowei, the forum’s National Coordinator.
Kolowei said that fixing the refinery would positively impact economic activities in the South-South.
He said that the FEC approval would also create massive direct and indirect employment for the people.
“Our forum received the news to fix Port Harcourt refinery with great joy, the move shows commitment of the current administration to tackle the challenges facing our oil sector head on.
“We believe that if the refinery starts operating at its capacity, it will improve a lot of economic activities in the South-South region,” he said.
He added that the country at large would benefit from the project which would create employment for the people of the region and 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 major issues considered in the approval,” he said.
While commending Buhari for the approval, Kolowei praised the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources for his dedication, commitment and vision to bring about a turn-around in the Nigerian oil industry.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Sylva had earlier said that the rehabilitation of the Port Harcourt refinery would be done in three phases of 18, 24 and 44 months.
According to the minister, the funding for the repairs will be from many components including the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Internally Generated Revenue, budgetary provisions and from Afreximbank.(NAN)