By Ovasa Ogaga,
Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Chieftain, Chief Sunny Onuesoke has reacted to the statement of Nigeria Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed on the eagerness of President Muhammed Buhari administration for the Dangote Refinery to commence operation.
The Minister had explained that the take off of Dangote Refinery will save the country over $10 billion spend on crude importation and create jobs. She stated that the Federal Government will be providing some intervention of duty and some tax waver which is available to every organization.
Reacting to the Minister’s statement, Onuesoke who said he is not against the Federal Government support for Dangote Refinery, however argued that it would have been better for the Federal government to encourage or revitalize the country’s four ailing refineries so that the nation will gain from the input of their productivities by saving more foreign currencies and creating more jobs.
“ My argument here is that if Dangote refinery alone will make Nigeria save $10bn on the importation of crude oil and create jobs, it means that if the nation’s four refineries are productive, Nigeria will save over $40bn on the importation of crude oil and even create more employment opportunities. So why do we not put the refineries in a functioning condition for the benefit of all?” he queried.
The social critic further described as a shame that in spite of Nigeria having four refineries controlled by NNPC, none of them is producing fuel either for internal consumption or exportation for commercial gains, while at the same time the Federal Government is eager for the take off a private refinery where it is expected to save $10bn from importation of oil.
He alleged that NNPC’s approach to oil sales suffers from high corruption risks and fails to maximize returns for the nation, adding that since inception, the corporation has neither developed its own commercial or operational capacities, nor facilitated the growth of the sector through external investment.
“ Instead, it has spun a legacy of inefficiency and mismanagement. Its faults have been described by a number of scathing reports, many commissioned by government itself.1Despite NNPC’s debilitating consumption of public revenues and performance failures, successive governments have done little to reform the company,” he argued.
Onuesoke who insisted that the Federal Government should scrap or take its hands off the management of the four refineries hence the nation is not benefitting from its activities said, “Nigeria has four refineries and none is refining crude oil. Government still pays a huge sum on importing finished oil products with the payment of huge subsidy.
“NNPC and her other subsidiaries are responsible for almost 15 per cent of the Federal Government’s yearly salaries and wages annually. There is no need for NNPC to exist if our refineries are not working. People established business to make gains as already being expected from Dagote Refinery and loses.
“Details of financial records published on the company’s website revealed that the national oil company repeatedly failed to meet projected profits as its subsidiaries, particularly refineries, running cost at the headquarters and other arms left whopping deficits.
“The corporation recorded N267.14b loss in 2015. The figure stood at N197b in 2016. In 2017, data from its financial statements showed N82b in operational losses, while a deficit of N5.46b was posted for January and August in 2018.”