Vanguard (Lagos)

4 September 2012

Nigeria to Over-Take South Africa in 2014

Nigeria Gross Domestic Product, GDP is expected to overtake South Africa in 2014 when Nigeria Energy sector is fully reformed, an official of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC has said.

Nigeria Gross Domestic Product, GDP is expected to over-take South Africa in 2014 when Nigeria Energy sector is fully reformed, an official of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC has said.

Nigeria currently earns $450 billion as her Gross Domestic Product, GDP, and it expected to increase between 2013 and 2014 when the country's energy sector is fully deregulated.

The Executive Director (Corporate Planning and Strategy) of NNPC, Dr. Timothy Okon said the energy sector is the biggest in Africa and all industry stakeholders should play a pivotal role to ensure that the sector is fully reformed.

According to him, reforming the sector will help improve the economy by means of creating jobs.

"Nigeria economic is 5 per cent the size of the US economic which is $9 trillion of their GDP. We have to raise our GDP higher in other to meet that of the United State. In order to double the economy in the next two years, reform is very important to deliver that.

"The energy sector is also very critical to double the Gross Domestic Product, GDP of the country. Nigeria is blessed with lots of natural resources; these resources can easily translate into economic development only when the sector is properly reform.

When the sector has been reform, it is open up for full participation," he said.

Explaining a very critical aspect of reforming the industry, Dr. Okon stated that petroleum pipelines remains the back bone of the refineries that needs to be preserved.

He said "The pipeline network in the country is well design to work side by side with the three refineries in the country.

"If you want to refine crude oil in Kaduna refineries, the pipeline system is already in place to transport crude oil from Warri to Kaduna refinery.

"But our pipelines system needs to be properly maintained because they are now subjected to constant vandalism. in areas that troublesome, these pipes need to be buried very deep so that they are not exposed to vandalism. These are some of the issues that reforming the sector will address," he said.

Highlighting the key focus of reforming the energy sector, Dr. Okon said there must be availability of petroleum products. This can be done only when the pipelines system is working effectively.

He also added that the refineries must be brought back to their optimal performance, noting that "with a regulated market, you will have the refineries working."

Justas the Nigerian Communication Commission, NCC in the telecom sector, and the Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC in the power sector, Dr. Okon said deregulation in the petroleum sector goes with a strong regulation because it helps to advance the space of consumer protection.

If more refineries will bring down the cost of refined products in the country; the NNPC Executive Director (Corporate Planning and Strategy) said not necessary.

"if we have more refineries in the country, that does not automatically translate into reduced price of refined product. But deregulation of the downstream sector will encourage more investment."

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