Taiwo Oyedele, the Chairman of the Presidential Fiscal Policy and Tax Reforms Committee, has said that the National Assembly has spent over N10 trillion on the country’s refineries, yet they do not work, he said this during the Platform Nigeria symposium held on Monday, October 2 in Lagos.
According to him, the refineries are better off sold.
“Nigerians would say if only our refineries were working, then we will be fine. Nothing can be farther from the truth than that. In fact, Nigerians should come together and say please make sure that our refineries do not work. We should sell them.
“The National Assembly said we have spent over N10 trillion maintaining our refineries even when they have not produced anything
“If Nigerian refineries process crude oil unless we deal with our inefficiency, one litre of petrol will be the most expensive in the world. You would have succeeded in replacing the subsidy at the pump with the subsidy for the refineries.”
N11.3 trillion: Status quo
Indeed, in August 2023, the National Assembly announced that it would probe the alleged N11.3 trillion expenditure by the Federal Government on Nigeria’s refineries’ turn-around maintenance between 2010 and 2020.
According to the House of Representatives Committee Chairman on Public Accounts, there is concern over the deplorable state of Nigeria’s refineries despite the significant amount of money spent on their maintenance over the past decade.
He emphasized that there should be consequences for wasteful spending.
Meanwhile, the Buhari administration kickstarted a process of another round of refinery rehabilitation for the Warri, Kaduna and Port Harcourt refineries which are still ongoing under the Tinubu administration, and it has been announced that between December 2023 and 2024, all the refineries will be active, this is according to the current Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Heineken Lokpobiri.
A supporting argument
As noted by Oyedele, the imperative to address inefficiencies mandates serious consideration of selling off the refineries, unless the country is fully prepared to confront these challenges.
This perspective is echoed by oil and gas analyst, Dan D. Kunle, who emphasized the government’s struggles with inefficiency within the public sector.
Kunle stressed that for effective management and operation, the oil and gas sector should be entrusted to the private sector. He contended that the sector’s multitude of challenges stems from the government’s pervasive involvement in various aspects.
Kunle underscored that the private sector has demonstrated superior efficiency in operations compared to its public sector counterparts.
Thus, he advocated for the downstream sector to be entrusted to private entities, highlighting their capacity to deliver optimal efficiency.
Previously, Mr. Kunle lamented the lack of activity and underutilization of vital components within the Warri refinery, such as the petrochemical plant and the black carbon plant.
These facilities, designed to produce crucial raw materials for Nigeria’s tire industry, have remained inactive for years under government control.