Tonye Cole, the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC in Rivers state has said that operating the Kaduna, Warri, Port Harcourt, and Dangote refineries at full scale, will not reduce fuel pump prices in the country.
Speaking when he appeared on Channels Television interview on Wednesday night, he said each time the refineries need to be maintained, some parts will be imported as Nigeria is a highly import-dependent country.
He said that foreign countries manufacture all the moving parts that are needed for refinery maintenance.
So, when Nigerian refineries need those parts to keep up with refining activities, the import of the parts will put more pressure on the dollar rate,
According to him: “If we do not deal with productivity, nothing changes. We do not talk about productivity and that is what we need to talk about.
“What is happening in our manufacturing sector, and how are we providing services that will keep our refineries going?
“If Dangote has to rely on importation at the dollar price that we have today to make sure that his refinery continues to run, the price of fuel will not come down.”
Speaking further, he noted that although it is possible for fuel prices to reduce certain factors need to be in place first. One of which is to ensure that there is a productivity culture within Nigeria.
He said: “It is important to ask the question: what is putting pressure on foreign exchange in Nigeria? The forex pressure is because we import almost everything in the country, including the things we can manufacture here.”
He, however, advised the current government to go to existing manufacturing bases (in places like Kaduna, Kano, and Aba) and support those manufacturers so they can produce more materials for the country on a large-scale while being dependent on the Naira across the value chain.
Cole further advised the government to look at the areas where the country can earn foreign exchange without leaving Nigeria and boost that sector.
According to him, the tech community, where young Nigerians are in Nigeria, and are earning foreign exchange from other countries.