The House of Representatives on Tuesday resolved to investigate the over N20billion expended by the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) on the Turn Around Maintenance (TAM) of the nation’s four refineries and the current production status of the refineries.
This resolution was sequel to the adoption of the motion sponsored by Rep. Ibrahim Ayokunle Isiaka, who drew attention the huge resources spent by the Federal Government on rehabilitating the refineries without any positive results.
He declared that Nigeria remains the only Oil Producing Exporting Country (OPEC) member state that imports refined petroleum products to meet her domestic demand, even when it has state- owned refineries.
Ayokunle expressed dismay that despite the fact that the government had expended over $20bn on rehabilitating the affected refineries with a combined refining output of 445,000 barrels per day, the Port Harcourt, Warri and Kaduna refineries have remained in a state of disrepair, averaging a dismal 11 per cent capacity utilization.
He said the refineries have the worst performance record in Africa, when compared to 81 per cent and 85 per cent respectively, achieved by refineries located in Egypt and South Africa.
“A whopping $300million, $57m, $200m and lately, more than N264bn had been spent on maintenance of the refineries, yet it was reported that the NNPC is seeking for $1.8bn to carry out another Turn Around Maintenance (TAM) to make the refineries attractive to investors,” he added.
The lawmaker said that it is worrisome that only the President, Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote has put his refining license to use by building a private refinery in the country, while government appears incapacitated in revoking the licenses given to other corporate bodies and individuals to construct refineries.
“This is despite the major paradigm shift and consideration of different reliefs, including reduction of licensing fee for new refineries from $1m to $50,000 to make domestic refining attractive and reduce the huge capital flight to fuel importation, meet local demand and possible exports.
“The primacy of fuel in the nation’s hierarchy of needs and its importance to the economy, as public energy supply is grossly inadequate sand o, 80 per cent of economic and domestic processes depend on power from generators,” he added.
He said that he believes that the government ought to have an interest in ensuring the provision of affordable fuel because of the unacceptably high level of poverty in the country which he puts at 69 per cent, attributable mainly to the unsustainable level of general and youth unemployment, which stands at 24 per cent and 45 per cent, respectively.
In passing its resolution, the House resolved to set up an ad hoc committee to ascertain the viability of continuing investment of public funds on the affected refineries and the allocation of 445,000 of crude per day for refining purposes.
Similarly, the ad hoc committee would determine the current utilization level of the Warri, Kaduna and Port Harcourt refineries, the effectiveness of the maintenance carried out on them till date and identity those awarded licenses to establish private refineries, their readiness to build the refineries and report back within 90 days for further legislative action.
Henry Omunu, Abuja