Reps queries fresh bid to spend $1.8bn on Port Harcourt, Warri, Kaduna refineries

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The House of Representatives on Tuesday sought the viability of further spending on the country’s four refineries and the daily allocation of 445,000 barrels of crude to the facilities.

It queried a fresh bid by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to spend another $1.8bn on the Turn Around Maintenance (TAM) of the refineries.

Two of the refineries are located in Port Harcourt, and one each in Kaduna and Warri.

The House noted that the same refineries had already gulped “more than $20bn on Turn Around maintenance”, but without appreciable improvement in their performances to justify the expenditure.

The lawmakers said Nigeria’s refineries had the “worst performance record in Africa” at 11 per cent capacity, compared to the 81 per cent scored by Egypt and the 85 per cent recorded by South Africa.

A lawmaker from Ogun State, Rep. Ibrahim Isiaka, described the performance of the refineries as “abysmal.”

Isiaka added, “The House is cognizant 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.”

He recalled that efforts by the Federal Government to bring private individuals on board to build new refineries had also not been successful.

Isiaka stated, “Despite 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 huge capital flight to fuel importation, only Aliko Dangote has put the licence to use.

“No efforts have been made to revoke the licences given to individuals and corporate organisations to built refineries, which have yet to be utilised.”

Tuesday’s session, which was presided over by the Deputy Speaker, Mr. Yusuf Lasun, resolved to determine the current health status of the four refineries by investigating the TAM carried out so far on them.

It also resolved to “identify the private and corporate individuals that have refused to utilise the licences,” as well as their readiness to build the refineries.

Meanwhile, in a separate resolution, the House also queried the alleged “fraudulent” sale of Non-Core Assets of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria by the Nigeria Electricity Liability Management Company recently.

A motion moved by a lawmaker from Lagos State, Rita Orji, said the assets, said to be worth over N20bn, were auctioned for only N1.5bn.

She informed the House that there was no competitive bidding for the assets, a development that left Nigerians, who were interested in participating in the auction, bewildered.

The House directed its Committees on Power and Public Procurement to probe the sale and “stop further sale pending the outcome of the investigation.”

The lawmakers passed the unanimous resolution by voice vote.

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Godwin Okafor is a Financial Journalist, Internet Social Entrepreneur and Founder of Naija247news Media Limited. He has over 16 years experience in financial journalism. His experience cuts across traditional and digital media. He started his journalism career at Business Day, Nigeria and founded Naija247news Media in 2010. Godwin holds a Bachelors degree in Industrial Relations and Personnel Management from the Lagos State University, Ojo, Lagos. He is an alumni of Lagos Business School and a Fellow of the University of Pennsylvania (Wharton Seminar for Business Journalists). Over the years, he has won a number of journalism awards. Godwin is the chairman of Emmerich Resources Limited, the publisher of Naija247news.

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