President Goodluck Jonathan yesterday said the Federal Government was willing to give licences to those interested in setting up refineries in the country.
The move, he said, is part of the overall efforts by government to raise the nation's petroleum refining capacity and reduce the importation of refined products.
President Jonathan said this while speaking to a delegation of Brazilian investors, led by Mr. Reuben Voigt, chairman of the Voigt Group, at State House.
The President lamented that despite having four refineries, the country is still importing refined petroleum products because of their inability to meet domestic demands for the products.
"Nigeria has four refineries, but their combined capacity does not meet the country's needs, so we are willing to approve applications for refining licences," Jonathan said.
The President also disclosed that government has now opened up previously restricted areas to private investors as part of his transformation agenda.
He said Nigeria is still a green area in terms of investments, and Government has opened up sectors of the economy, which were previously restricted, to private sector investment.
He therefore, directed the Coordinating Minister of the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, to hold discussions with the Voigt Group, to explore areas of mutual cooperation.
Those who also attended the meeting include the Ministers of Housing, Trade and Investment, Power and FCT (State).
Speaking earlier, Mr. Voigt said they were donating 120,000 housing units to Nigeria over three years, adding that the Voigt Group was interested in investing in construction, housing, power plants; petroleum refining and oil spillage clearing.
The delegation was led to State House by Mrs. Ngozi Olajeme, of the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund.
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(Originally published February 3, 2012, by Daily Champion.)