We’ll make Nigeria petrochemical hub of Africa, says Jonathan
President Goodluck Jonathan yesterday said he would make Nigeria the petrochemical hub of Africa.
Jonathan, who was in Akwa Ibom to perform the ground-breaking ceremony of $1.5 billion Methanol Industry and commissioning of Uquo gas Processing Plant, stressed the need for the establishment of more petrochemical industry in the country in order to create wealth and boost the country’s foreign exchange earnings.The president stated that it was only through the private sector that the economy could grow, explaining that it was not the business of the government to get directly involved in the building of industries but government can provide an enabling environment for private sector to thrive.
He said the facility will boost power generation in the country by between 750 and 1,000 megawatts (Mw) of electricity.
He said: “Today’s commissioning is the beginning of a gas value chain that will affect the lives of Nigerians and boost the nation’s economy. With an added 1,000 megawatts of electricity to our national grid, our production capabilities are bound to expand, increasing the size and breath of our economy.
“This means that the hairdresser can do her hairdressing, the welder can do his welding, and the factory can carry on production. It means that the people in the office can function because their computers will have power and all those things have an impact on the ability of each individual to produce optimally.
“Private sector involvement is key because it touches on our economy. Both factories have to use gas and Nigeria is known to have more gas than even crude oil but over the period we have not been maximising our gas access.
“We even have gas plants but we don’t have enough gas to power them. Of course the issue of the Quantum petrochemical Complex is significant because we have been saying that we will make Nigeria the petrochemical hub of Africa. So we need more of private sector investment. We must consume our gas. That is the only way Nigeria will appreciate the value.
“We cannot continue to export raw crude oil and raw gas. When you export raw gas you create job and wealth in other places. You imagine the number of jobs the petrochemical industry will create. Private sector involvement is important.”
Jonathan also explained that with the current investment in the petrochemical industry, by year 2020, the country would have reduced gas flaring to an acceptable limit globally.
He said: “We have not been able to stop gas flaring but with this kind of investment coming into the petrochemical industry then our dream that by the year 2020 we will reduce the gas flaring to an acceptable limit globally will be realised.
“As a country it is not for government again get to directly involved in the building of industries. We said that we must provide the environment for the private sector to drive the economy. Government is no longer competing with the private sector.
“With what we are doing now by having robust private sector in the country, the economy of the country and the potentials in terms of having robust GDP will increase. We will continue to encourage private sector in that direction.”
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