Thursday, April 19, 2007

Nigeria: Local, Russian Firms Partner to Boost Petroleum Products Supply in Sierra Leone

FOLLOWING The federal Government's inability to put a stop to the unending crisis in the petroleum sector, especially as it relates to the scarcity and importation of petroleum products and the restiveness currently witnessed in the Niger-Delta region, a Nigerian firm has entered into partnership with a Russian firm to import petroleum products from Sierra Leone and to set up a refinery in the country.

The Group Managing Director of Wentworth and GoldBurg Limited, Mr. Sylvester Oluwaleimu, who made this disclosure during the official opening of the company in Lagos on Thursday said "The importation of refined crude from Sierra Leone will be a short term measure to alleviate the sufferings of Nigerians while our ultimate goal which is to set up a refinery that will put a stop to the importation of petroleum products will be achieved in the medium term."

He stated that Wentworth and Goldburg together with its Russian partner is presently working on an arrangement to lift fuel from the Russian firm's refinery in Sierra Leone and Geneva to Nigeria with the intention to commence refining of crude oil in the country in a couple of weeks.

"It is high time Nigeria started refining its crude oil itself instead of producing it here, taking it to other countries for refining and bringing it back to be sold to Nigerians more than twice the original price. We want to stop that practice by setting up a refinery in the country. We have Nigerians who are experts in the petroleum industry, these Nigerians would be responsible for the refining of the crude locally," he stated.

He disclosed that the Russian partners will be sending their experts into the country in a couple of weeks to assess the situation of things on ground and hope to commence business immediately the feasibility study of the refinery is concluded.

Meanwhile, Managing Director of the company, Mr. Adebayo Adeyeye, disclosed that the firm which is also into property development and financing has entered into partnership with a consortium of foreign banks to bring down the interest rate charged on mortgages to single digit so as to put an end to the inability of Nigerians to access funds for the erection of their own building, due to the high interest rate on mortgages charged by financial institutions.

He stated that the mortgage institution in Nigeria leaves much to be desired considering its unattractiveness to Nigerians who wish to own their own homes.

According to him, "Mortgage financing is virtually non-existent in Nigeria. A 10 to 12 year mortgage can not be called mortgage in the real sense of the word. A person taking a mortgage expects that it will make his life easier with little or no stress not for it to choke him as currently obtained in Nigeria."

He stated that a number of foreign banks which it is partnering with will be bringing funds into the Nigerian market to help push down the interest rate and to make it possible for the vast majority of Nigerians, especially the masses to own their own homes and at a cheaper rates too.

He disclosed that the banks and other foreign investors were looking for third world countries to invest their money and decided to invest in Nigeria due to its geographical advantage in the region and due to its huge population.

He stated that a very critical factor to the inflow of the funds is a successful transition programme. "The investors are waiting for the outcome of Nigeria's on-going transition program before moving in. If the transition program is not successful they will not bring in their money. No body want to invest where there is no peace," he explained.

He stated that the company is set to partner with the Lagos State Government to build low cost housing estate across the state for sale to Lagosians and Nigerians in general with a minimal initial deposit and an interest rate of between 13 to 15 per cent.

Link to allAfrica.com: Nigeria: Local, Russian Firms Partner to Boost Petroleum Products Supply (Page 1 of 1)