Reps Probe $396m Refinery Maintenance Expenses
The House of Representatives has begun investigation into the ‘Turn-Around Maintenance’ of the petroleum refineries in Port Harcourt, Warri and Kaduna said to have gulped $396.33m in four years.
The move followed the unanimous adoption of a motion entitled ‘Call for investigation of the $396.33m allegedly spent in four years on turn around maintenance of the nation’s three refineries.’
At the plenary on Thursday, Mr Ifeanyi Momah, called for the probe, alleging that the amount spent on maintenance of the facilities had not produced results.
The House, therefore, called on the Federal Government to consider “divesting a certain percentage of its shareholding in the Port Harcourt, Warri and Kaduna refineries to competent investors under a transparent and fair bidding process.”
Also, the House mandated the Committee on Petroleum Resources (Downstream) to conduct an investigative hearing into the maintenance expenses beginning from 2013 to date.
It asked the committee to report back within eight weeks for further legislative action.
Momah said Nigeria had been living with the “derogatory appellation” of being a major oil producing nation that is heavily reliant on importation of refined petroleum products for its domestic consumption as a result of its low local refining capacity.
He said this was in spite of the fact that the country has three major refineries with installed capacity to refine 445,000 barrels per day, enough for domestic consumption and export.
The lawmaker said, “This objective has not been realised owing to a combination of factors, including corruption and inefficiency in the running of the refineries.
“The House observes the assertion by the Nigeria National Resource Charter in the report that the NNPC spent a whopping $396.33m between 2013 and 2017 to carry out repair works.
“The House also observes the claim that the NNPC spent N276.872bn on operating expenses of the refineries between 2015 and 2018, as well as $36bn on importation of petroleum products between 2013 and 2017.”
According to the lawmaker, the strategic goal of establishing local refining facilities as a socio-economic game-changer has continued to elude the country’s oil and gas industry.