For the umpteenth time, the federal government has said it plans to carry out a holistic turn-around maintenance of the nation’s refineries located in Port Harcourt, Warri and Kaduna, as part of efforts to end petrol importation in the country.
However, this time, government plans to hand over the refineries to private managers post their rehabilitation, Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Mr Timipre Sylva disclosed. Successive governments have voted huge sums of monies into rehabilitating the refineries, with the various past minister assuring of their functionality to no avail.
The refineries have remained a drain on the nation’s resources, collectively operating at less than 20percent installed capacities, while the nation resorts to importation of petrol for domestic consumption.
A recent report by the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) disclosed that Nigeria imported 18 billion litres of petrol between January and November, 2019, while only 166 million litres was produced locally.
But speaking at his maiden press briefing, Mr Sylva said, what this administration intends to do differently, is to invite the original equipment manufacturers to rehabilitate the refineries after which they would be contracted out to private managers.
He said, “We have come to the conclusion that refineries cannot be effectively managed by government due to the bureaucracy of government. It cannot be applied to the management of refineries.
“What we will do differently is to put an operation and management contract on the refineries when they are rehabilitated so that we cut off government management so our refineries can operate better.”
He pointed out that the refineries have continued to be a problem because the original manufacturers have not been carried along in their rehabilitation.