KanyiDaily recalls that the Ministry of Petroleum Resources had announced last Thursday annouced that Nigeria signed a Memorandum of Understanding (Mou) to start importing petroleum produucts from Niger Republic.
The announcement angered Nigerians, who described the move as ‘an embarrassment’ with many others knocking the government over its inability to keep the country’s refineries running.
Reacting on Monday evening while featuring on Channels Television’s Politics Today programme, Sylva said the petrol importation from the neighbouring country should not be seen as ‘an embarrassment’ but rather as a means of encouraging intra-regional trade.
“I don’t see that as an embarrassment at all. As a country, Nigeria is a big market, we need products, even if all our refineries were functioning, we will still need extra products.
“Niger Republic produces oil and they are landlocked as a country. They have a refinery that produces in excess of what they require as a country and they offered to sell to us in Nigeria because this is a bigger market.
“In the spirit of regional cooperation, regional trade development, we decided to buy from them. I don’t see anything wrong with that. If your neighbour is producing something that is required in your country and you buy from him, why is that a big problem?
“So, we agreed with Niger to buy the excess of what they don’t require in Niger because this is a big market.
“Nigerians should be proud that we are doing that to encourage sub-regional trade because we have been talking about sub-regional trade for a long time and this is how it should be between neighbouring countries.
“Niger should import from us what they have and we should be able to import from Niger what they have. Let us encourage intra-regional trade and this is one good example of trading within West Africa,” he added.
KanyiDaily recalls that the pump price of petrol settled between N168 to N170 per litre after the NNPC increased the wholesale price of the product from N147 to N155.