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Speaker Abbas seeks privatisation of Nigeria’s refineries

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Speaker of the House of Representatives, Tajudeen Abbas, has recommended the privatisation of oil refineries in the country to enable them function optimally.

Mr Abbas gave the recommendation on Thursday, while receiving the management of NNPCL led by the Group Managing Director, GMD, Mele Kyari in Abuja.

He described the state of refineries over the years as shameful ,adding so much money was being spent on workers as salaries and allowances for doing very little.

“There is need to make these refineries have multi -dimensional uses, if there is no crude oil, are there other activities that can make the workers to be active so that why they earn is deserved? I need you and your management to look at how we can turn around these decades of losses.

“One way to do so is to find a way to privatise these refineries; we have spent so much money and time deceiving ourselves that some businesses can be run by government.

“In the case of the refineries, we have now realised that some sectors of NNPC business can only be handled by the private sector and our refineries are one of those.

“The inadequacies will become manifest as soon as Dangote refinery comes on board because the competition will be there and inefficiencies of the refineries will be become more naked.

“I want you to put it as part of your cardinal objectives; let us find ways to privatise our refineries so that they can be active ,so that in the near future, they will be able to compete with new refineries that will come up,” he said.

Abbas said that the NNPCL is central to the economic development of Nigeria, pledging the commitment of the House of Representatives to supporting the company to succeed.

According to him ,the House is concerned about the high rate of oil theft as it is draining revenue, affecting forex availability and causing inflation in the country.

The speaker said that the House had inaugurated a special committee on oil theft, to interface with stakeholders with a view to addressing oil theft in the country.

Earlier, Mr Kyari said that all refineries would become fully operational and Nigeria would become a net exporter of petroleum products by the end of 2024.

He noted that subsidy was responsible for poor activities at government-owned refineries over the years ,saying that the removal of subsidy was already attracting a lot of private sector investments.

“I can confirm to you that by the end of December latest, we will start the Port Harcourt Refinery; early in the first quarter of 2024, we will start the Warri Refinery and by the end of 2024, Kaduna Refinery will come into operation.

“This is the commitment we are giving today and you can hold us accountable on this.

“In 2024, many initiatives, including the rehabilitation of our refineries, and also the efforts of small- scale refiners, and the coming of the Dangote Refinery, will make Nigeria a net exporter of petroleum products.

“We will no longer be talking about fuel importation by the end 2024, I am very optimistic that this will crystalise,” he said.

Mr Kyari said that it was not the practice of the company to publish its financial statements some years back , but that the practice had changed, and all the company’s accounts from 2018 till date were now in the public space.

Mr Kyari put the expected government revenue from the company by the end of 2023 at N4.5 trillion, saying that NNPCL was returning value to shareholders in line with the objectives of the Petroleum Industry Act.

Mr Kyari said that the company had a robust supply plan assuring that there would be no shortage of fuel over the Christmas season and beyond ,and that no one could hold the country to ransom.

NAN

 

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