The debate over Federal Government’s proposed $1.5 billion to be spent on rehabilitating the 210,000-barrel per day (bpd) Port Harcourt refinery still brews and apparently intensified yesterday as more opposition party members voiced out on their skeptism.
Atedo Peterside – founder of Stanbic IBTC Bank Plc had earlier asked the government to subject the plan to a national debate has said the NNPC would only lead Nigeria itself into a deeper state of financial mess after throwing $1.5 billion debt included, at a problem that was created by itself.
Peterside lamented that despite the Port Harcourt refinery contributing ZERO revenue in 2019, it incurred a whooping N47 billion – being almost around N4 billion a month.
Peterside, further said he had assumed the COVID-19 pandemic would have taught Nigeria a lesson by making careful decision and added that carrying the project out would be wrecking the future of our children and grandchildren by putting it in the possession of those who have shown not to be able to handle anything already.
Coming at a time that the National Assembly is calling for a probe into the whereabouts of money expended on fixing the refineries, Peterside told Arise TV that the rehabilitation is a “drainpipe for public office holders and their families.”
Atiku Abubakar yesterday, repeated his advice that government should hastily privatize Nigeria’s refineries and the NNPC itself through LNG model that has withstood the test of time where the FG owns 49% equity and the private sector 51%.
“In 20 years ending 2020, the NLNG had delivered $18.3 billion dividends to government irrespective of taxes and other benefit accruals to the country. This will not only free the government of needless spending but also clean up the infrastructure mess in the petroleum downstream sector.”Atiku said, In a statement signed by him yesterday.
Timipre Sylva – The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources explained that the contract for the rehabilitation was awarded to Tecnimont SPA, an Italian firm and would be executed in 3 phases. Phase 1 is expected to be done within 28 months, phase 2 and phase 3 would be done between 24 and 44 months respectively.
Mele Kyari – Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), sided with the government’s plan to spending such an amount on the refinery said the rehabilitation plan may be the best option.
Giving the history of turnaround maintenance in the country, Managing Director of Mudiame International Limited, and Mudiame Welding Institute, Prof. Sunny Eromosele said it would be better to put funds in other areas of economy, education, and industries that would create more jobs. He said;
“Government should stop refining business for private organisations. It should be sold to available buyers while the workforce can be relocated to other ministries to save the little resources available”
He further says the project would be a waste of national resources. Explaining it may take up to 5 years and may as well remain a distant dream we may never achieve in the end.
MEANWHILE, the umbrella body of Ijaw Youths Worldwide, the Ijaw Youths Council (IYC) has thrown its weight behind moves by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) to reject the Federal Government’s removal of petrol subsidy and increase the price of fuel pump price to N234 per litre. The IYC described the proposed increase in fuel price from N162 to N234 as a sign of failed and inconsistent economic policies of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.