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Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Eket Development Congress (EDC) Position On Fuel Subsidy And How The Completion Of Amakpe Refineries Would Help Alleviate The Problem



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In light of the recent fuel subsidy crisis in Nigeria which almost
derailed our fragile Democracy and its continuous aftershocks, Eket
Development Congress USA Inc. (EDC) has decided to add its voice to those
of millions of Nigerians who believe that the solution to the subsidy
issue is within our power to ameliorate. The Federal Government and the
Akwa Ibom State Government in particular should seize this golden
opportunity to jump start talks with Amakpe Refinery, a Project with
benefits that would extend beyond the shores of Nigeria.

Like many Nigerians of different works, EDC is at a loss as to why the 8th
largest producer of Crude Oil in the world, Nigeria, is unable or
unwilling to refine adequate fuel for at least local consumption? Why do
we have to subsidize fuel imported from outside the country when we can
refine enough within the borders of Nigeria? Many have argued that it is
not profitable to refine locally as long as we are subsidizing imported
fuel, if we as Nigerians know what the problem is, why are we not willing
to fix it by creating the environment to promote the establishment of more
local refineries.

EDC notes with interest Governor Akpabio’s recent statement in which he
expressed his support for the removal of the subsidy, and maintained that
the subsidy was applicable to fuel imports, and therefore had no potential
to generate employment, or add to the country’s gross domestic product.
The Governor was also quoted as saying that rather than subsidizing
consumption, the government should subsidize production, pointing out that
under the subsidy, those who ran refineries were not eligible for subsidy
but were expected to sell at the regulated price, while those importing
fuel were benefiting from the subsidy.

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Given the above comments and recent pronouncements by the government of
Akwa Ibom State, led by Governor Godswill Akpabio, to release the sum of
one billion dollars for the industrialization of the state that has
prompted EDC to assume that Governor Akpabio would fully support an
immediate commencement of talks with the Amakpe Refinery promoters with
the aim of finding a lasting solution to the impasse.

The Amakpe Refinery Project requires the sum of $30 million to fund the
pending receivables and construction costs to complete full implementation
at the Project site in Eket, Akwa Ibom State, and will start-up production
and be operational within six months of shipment of the completely
fabricated Refinery Equipment. Implementation of the Amakpe Refinery
Project will create over 1,000 direct jobs and about 5,000 indirect jobs
in the restive Niger Delta of Nigeria which would go a long way in
assisting the Federal Government Militancy Rehabilitation Program. Within
a few years of operation, the 6,000 BPD Amakpe Refinery will increase
its refining capacity through 12,000BPD to 50,000 BPD, and would create
over 3,000 direct jobs and 20,000 indirect jobs, with the ability to
reduce militancy and kidnappings in the Niger Delta Region .

Furthermore, the development will support the genuine efforts of the
Federal Government of Nigeria aimed at increasing local crude oil refining
capacity and making Nigeria Energy independent, which will help to address
the problem of Fuel subsidy.

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EDC is requesting Your Excellency, Governor Godswill Akpabio to note the
urgent importance of the Project towards your Industrialization program in
Akwa Ibom State and by extension, Nigeria’s economic growth and
development and;

(a) Intervene in the seeming misunderstanding between the Primary
Promoters and the Akwa Ibom State Government.

(b) Facilitate the approval of a US$30 million loan request made by
Sterling Bank to the Bank of Industry (“BOI”) to support the completion of
the Project; and

(c) Encourage the Federal Government to grant Amakpe Refinery Project the
benefit from the Department of Petroleum Resources Fiscal Incentives for
development of Private Refineries.

EDC urges Akwa Ibom State government to reconsider its position in the
interest of the overall good of our citizens, as it strives to create
gainful employment for the citizens of Akwa Ibom State in particular and
Nigeria in general. EDC also urges both parties to enter into good faith
negotiations and find a way out of the quagmire. We believe that the
Government of Akwa Ibom State as a “senior member” of our society should
invite the Amakpe Promoters for talks in the interest of our State and for
the benefit of all.

We thank you and we look forward to your commissioning of the Amakpe
Refinery Project in the very near future.

Margaret Itauma Nwaessien Essien
National President National Secretary
Eket Development Congress USA Inc

PO Box 540106, Houston Texas USA 77254

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