The Senate has set up an ad hoc committee to investigate the contracts awarded for the rehabilitation of state-owned refineries, which have allegedly consumed N11.35 trillion in 13 years without producing any refined products.
The committee, chaired by Senator Isah Jibrin Echocho, is mandated to interrogate the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC), Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Limited (NNPCL), and the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) on the best approach to commercialising the refineries.
The committee is expected to submit its report within four weeks.
The resolution followed a motion by Senator Sunday Karimi, who expressed concern that the state-owned refineries in Nigeria have been a serious drain pipe of public finance, depriving the citizens of the joy of being an oil-producing nation.
He said between 2010 and 2023, Nigeria is estimated to have spent N11.35 trillion, excluding other costs in other currencies, on the renovation of refineries, yet they are unproductive.
He said, despite the moribund state of the four refineries, their operating costs between 2010 and 2020 are estimated at N4.8 trillion.
He added that the refineries are estimated to make a cumulative loss of N1.64 trillion within four years.
He said the federal government has carried out rehabilitation projects at Port Harcourt Refinery Company (PHRC) over a period of seven years, from 2013 to 2023, but the refinery remains a money pit.
He said the federal government has also injected huge public funds between 2014 and 2023 to revitalise the Warri refinery, but it is still inactive.
He said the Kaduna Refinery and Petro-Chemical Company (KRPC) has also gulped N2.266 billion in the name of rehabilitation over the past 10 years, but it remains unproductive.
He expressed worry that if a thorough investigation of the past and current rehabilitation projects is not undertaken by the Senate, the cycle of awarding unproductive turn-around maintenance contracts may not abate, thereby retaining the status quo where rehabilitation contracts have become conduit pipes for syphoning public funds.
Senators, in their various contributions, supported the motion and urged the relevant authorities to ensure that those responsible for the state of the refineries are sanctioned.
They also called for proper oversight functions by the Senate to ensure that Nigerians enjoy value for their taxes.
The deputy Senate president, Barau Jibrin, who presided over the plenary, commended the mover of the motion and assured that the Senate would do its best to address the issue.