Nigeria’s Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu, on Monday vowed to resign if Nigeria continues to import fuel by 2019.
Mr. Kachikwu stated this during an interview on BBC World Service programme, HardTalk, anchored by Stephen Sackur.
In the interview, which lasted 23 minutes, Mr. Kachikwu promised to deliver on the completion of the refineries, noting that he was committed to delivering a future for oil in Nigeria.
On Nigeria’s over-reliance on oil, the minister said the government plans to diversify into agriculture and other sources of revenue.
He said, “Oh, yes, clearly over- reliant , but whether that is dangerous… I look at the positive side of oil also in terms of what it’s done to a country over the years . But when the price slumps, it’s dangerous.
“But we will love to see a lot more diversification, a lot more efforts going into agriculture, emphasis on tourism…”
When asked when the country was going to be self-sufficient in terms of refining petroleum, Mr. Kachikwu declared that 2019 had been set as the target.
“2019 is the target time… I target 2019 . If I don’t achieve it, I will walk…I put the date and I will achieve it,” the minister said.
He, however, did not clarify if he meant early 2019 or the end of 2019 with the current administration’s tenure set to lapse in May 2019 unless re-elected.
When probed about President Muhammadu Buhari’s health, the minister noted that he didn’t know the details of the president’s medical treatment.
“He is in London; he’s undergoing hospital treatment. I don’t know the details of that. I obviously wouldn’t know. But…he’s back in London, he ’s continued some levels of meetings.
“He has a very efficient vice president who is sitting in for him in his absence,” he added.
Commenting further, Mr. Kachikwu explained that he had delivered on all his promises, stating that he made the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, a profit-making organisation.
“I have delivered on all that I have promised when I came into office,” he said.
“First, I took Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and made it a profit- making organisation.
“This is the first time such is happening. I reshaped the organisation. I removed cash call deficits of over $ 6 billion and renegotiated it. I will deliver on the refineries and I’m committed to it. I will deliver a future for oil that makes sense for Nigeria.
“I can ’t pretend that we’re going to solve in one day all the problems that happened in Nigeria in the past,” he added.