Association of Bitumen Marketers and distribution of Nigeria (ABIMD), yesterday disclosed that Nigeria has so far lost over N300 billion to massive importation of bitumen into the country.
This it said was detrimental to the locally produced bitumen which is available at the Kaduna Refining and Petrochemical Company (KRPC). The National Vice Chairman of ABIMD, Mr Fred Nyabam made the assertion while addressing a press conference in Kaduna.
Mr Nyabam also described the massive importation of bitumen into the country as a serious threat to the economy and poses great danger to the economic development of the nation.
He raised alarm over the activities of some few individuals whom he described as selfish individuals and an economic sabotage against the country.
“Regrettably, Nigeria has suddenly become a Bitumen importing country, instead of exporting the products which Kaduna refinery was designed to achieve, because of a few selfish individuals. This is clearly an economic sabotage against Nigeria as a Nation and must be resisted.
“The most regrettable aspect of this brazen act of sabotage against the Nation is that over 60% of all the Bitumen imported into Nigeria comes from a refinery in IRAN, whose Bitumen production capacity is not bigger than that of Kaduna Refinery and was constructed by the same Chiyoda of Japan that constructed Kaduna Refinery. “The Kaduna bitumen plant has an annual installed production capacity of over 650,000 metric tons. Currently, Nigeria’s annual consumption of Bitumen is a little over 500,000 metric tons so Nigeria should not have any business importing bitumen.
“On the 20th of November, 2013, in a stakeholder’s meeting to fashion out a way forward and make recommendations on possible fiscal policy measures for the Bitumen subsector, at the Budget office of the Federation, representatives of major construction companies from Julius Berger, Dantata and Sawao, Setraco and others confirmed that they prefer the locally produced bitumen, but do not patronize it due to its high cost and so, they go for the imported bitumen which is cheaper.
“The question once again is, why should the imported bitumen be cheaper than the locally produced bitumen, if there is no high level conspiracy in the bitumen sub-sector? “In the same meeting, KRPC through its representative, a senior manager, confirmed that the bitumen plant is perfectly in good condition without any problem and also reaffirmed their annual production capacity of over 650,000 metric tons and the availability of the product. With these confirmations, do we really need to continue to import bitumen,” Mr. Nyabam queried.
He however called for the intervention of the Federal government to protect Nigeria bitumen products by encouraging KRPC to enhance local production. “If we must import bitumen when it is absolutely inevitable, it must not be at the detriment of our locally produced bitumen and the economy. Instead, the government should do everything possible to protect Nigeria bitumen products, by encouraging Kaduna Refining and Petrochemical Company (KRPC) in all ramifications to enhance local production. Encouraging importation of bitumen is anti-economic emancipation,” Mr. Nyabam however stated.