John Ameh, Abuja
The House of Representatives on Thursday asked the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, and the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Dr. Maikanti Baru, to halt the Federal Government’s bid to spend $1.8bn on another Turn Around Maintenance on the country’s four refineries.
The refineries, two located in Port Harcourt and one each in Kaduna and Warri, have largely been unable to refine crude for domestic consumption and possible exportation of finished products.
The NNPC takes 445,000 barrels of crude daily for the purpose of refining for domestic consumption, but the country now depends almost 100 per cent on importation for its fuel energy needs.
A House resolution in November 2017 had directed the NNPC to stop the fresh TAM, pending the outcome of an investigation by the House into the many maintenance efforts carried out on the facilities in the past.
The Chairman of the ad hoc committee set up by the House to conduct the probe, Mr. Garba Datti-Muhammad, stated in Abuja on Thursday that the panel had commenced the investigation.
However, he stated that the committee had received hints that the NNPC was actually proceeding with the project in disobedience to the House resolution.
He restated the House’s resolution and asked Kachikwu and Baru to halt the TAM until the probe had been concluded.
Datti-Muhammad said, “The committee has commenced action on the matter and its attention has been drawn to the NNPC’s intention to spend $1.8bn on the TAM of the said four refineries.
“The committee has communicated to the minister and the GMD, requesting them to stay action pending the outcome of the committee’s investigation into the matter.”
Datti-Muhammad, who pleaded with Nigerians to be patient with the House to conduct the probe, stated that it would help to unravel the reason the refineries never worked despite the huge funds sunk into TAM in the past.
In its November 2017 resolution, the House had noted that the same refineries had already gulped more than $20bn on TAM but without appreciable improvement in performance to justify the expenditure.
The House said that Nigeria’s refineries had the worst performance record in Africa of 11 per cent, compared to the 81 per cent scored by Egypt and 85 per cent recorded by South Africa.
A motion moved by a member from Ogun State, Mr. Ibrahim Isiaka, described the performance of the refineries as abysmal.
“The House is cognisant that whopping sums of $308m; $57m; $200m; and lately, more than N264bn were spent, yet it was reported that the NNPC is seeking $1.8bn to carry out another TAM to make the refineries attractive to investors,” Isiaka stated.
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