Nigeria has set an ambitious target of ending petroleum products importation by 2020.

The country currently spends about 2.6 trillion Naira annually importing about 95% of all its petroleum needs.

But it has put a plan in place to ensure that this is reduced by 60% before the end of next year and to 0% by 2020.

“Going by our plans presently in the industry, our importation of petroleum products will be down to 60% next year and 0% import by 2020,” said Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, Minister of State for Petroleum Resources.

Kachikwu who restated government’s commitment to this plan on Wednesday said the plan could be achieved with the proposed construction of modular refineries in the Niger Delta and more investments in the sector.

According to him, the country will even start exporting refined petroleum once the Dangote Refinery comes into operation in 2019.

“The nation is at the turning point where the downstream industry is more critical than ever and will drive the economy.

“Currently, the NNPC imports over 95% of petroleum products owing to challenges being faced by marketers in accessing Foreign Exchange,” Kachikwu said.

He explained that after being in the industry for 20 years, he has seen it go through challenges but regardless of all that, “we are optimistic that there are a lot of opportunities in the sector”.

He said the plan “is achievable as Federal Government has shown a strong will to revamping the refineries coupled with the plan to bring about 20,000 barrels per day from modular refinery set to come on stream.”