By G9ija

The Federal Government says the rehabilitation of the Port Harcourt refinery in Rivers State will not significantly add to the nation’s burden.

A total of $1.5 billion has been proposed by the government to fund the project – a decision that has sparked controversy and debates in various parts of the country.

In what seems to be the latest reaction among several others, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Mr Timipre Sylva, doused the concerns that the project would worsen the nation’s debt profile.

He stated that the government does not intend to borrow all the funds to rehabilitate the refinery which he said would be functional in 18 months.

Sylva disclosed that a subsidiary of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) – Nigerian Petroleum Development Company Ltd (NPDC) – and others would contribute the money to be used for the project.

“There are questions asked – when are we going to fix our refineries, when are we going to rehabilitate our refineries? Now, we are rehabilitating the refineries but unfortunately, it is generating all these (issues),” the minister said during an interview aired on Channels Television’s Sunday Politics.

Mr Timipre Sylva says the federal appropriation will contribute $800 million to the project.

He added, ”Let me tell you how this rehabilitation is going to be funded; it is not going to be all debts, we are not going to borrow all the monies that are going into the rehabilitation (project).

“Some of the money will come from NNPC’s internally generated revenue – from NPDC, some of it will come from the Federal appropriation, and just a little fraction will come from the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank).”