Privatising government owned refineries is not the best for the country. Let us look at the privatisation of electricity; power supply became more epileptic. Everywhere is dark and this is causing more hardship for the people.So why should the refineries be sold? Is it not better for us if it is maintained? Privatising the refineries will affect everybody in the country; a lot of people use fuel for their daily business and at home for their generators. The refineries should not be privatised.
Government should privatise the refineries and give them to tested professionals like the international oil companies. They can also be given tax reliefs in exchange for revamping the refineries. The government should allow professionals handle the refineries and ensure that revenue is generated from it. If they make it attractive enough, it would attract serious bidders and become a win-win situation. Both the oil companies and the government will make profit; this much better than the refineries remaining idle. We have done turn-around maintenance several times; it is not working. It is better to allow professionals who are business oriented to handle the refineries; they know what they do. The contract should be straightforward so that the responsibility of each of the parties is clearly defined. One of the things the government is going to donate as its equity is the fact that the current refineries are not working.
I would have preferred the government to properly work on the refineries, make a good turn around maintenance so that they can work at full capacity. We have the crude here; we should not privatise our own property. Why not instead encourage the politicians that are stealing our money to go into construction ofprivate refineries? That will create jobs for the unemployed people in the country. If they privatise the refineries and reduce the workforce, where are we heading to? Whoever is buying the refineries is doing so to make profit. To achieve that he will most likely down-size the workforce; this will throw many people back into the labour market.
You don’t do the same thing several times and expect a different result. Successive governments have been spending money trying to revive the refineries and it didn’t work. This means there is either a force within sabotaging their efforts or the government is just paying lip service to solving the problem. There is need to explore other options for a possible solution. The Federal Government should consider bringing in private investors to run these refineries. The role of government should be that of regulation and monitoring. The government should retain a percentage for control while the private investors would operate it.
Yes, there is no shortcut to resolving this issue. In addition to privatising the refineries, the downstream sector of the oil and gas industry should be deregulated if we must make considerable progress in this sector. With regards to labour concerns about privatisation, you need to understand that there comes a time that the government must take a stand. When the Federal Government wanted to privatise NITEL or the telecommunications sector in general, labour unions cried out against it. The same thing happened when the power sector was to be deregulated. Labour will definitely kick against it, but you have to consider the greater good and take a stand between pandering to the interest of labour unions and what is in the country’s best interest. Now, we know that these refineries are not working or when they work, they do so far below installed capacity. This has not stopped those working in these refineries from being paid and getting promotions yet the country is suffering.
This is a country known to be the largest producer and exporter of crude oil in Africa, ironically it is the largest importer of refined products. Is this not shameful? It is a paradox. So, the government must take a firm stand on these refineries and have them privatised, because we cannot continue like this. We cannot continue to suffer in filling stations, forming long queues, all because we are importing refined products when we can refine these products in Nigeria if our refineries were functional.
Usually, when the government does business, that business always fails because government’s property is never considered as anybody’s property. That is why the world over, everybody is going against the government being in business. Most governments are divesting their businesses. The United Kingdom started it and that same thing should happen to our refineries. Unless the government divests itself of its assets, they cannot work because people are using them to make money. What the government should be doing is regulating business and not participating actively in business.
You see the issue is not even selling the refineries but they could be sold to the wrong persons who may try to sabotage the system. I always set example with the electricity issues. A lot of companies bided for the Electricity Company, and eventually electricity was privatised but today, the power situation in the country is worse than what it was prior to the privatisation. I know how much I spend on fuel on a daily basis for my generator. So it is affecting us, I don’t know where our country is heading to.
Selling these refineries will not help matters because the stakeholders, the government and others are not doing what they are supposed to do.They are doing one thing and telling us another thing. The same people controlling all these oil blocks might end up buying the refineries if they are privatised and the situation might become worse. I don’t think privatisation of the refineries will be the solution to the perennial fuel scarcity and other problems in the oil sector. Look at the privatisation of electricity companies; it has not solved any power problem in the country.So I will advise that our leaders should go back to the drawing board. If we come out with the real solution to our problems, you will see that the country will move forward. They know what they are doing. The solution is let government repair the refineries so they can work at maximum capacity. Giving them to private hands will not solve the problems.
It is not right to privatise the refineries. Things are presently tough for the people; selling the refineries will increase the hardship because of our dependence on the petroleum product for survival. They should repair our refineries and stop taking our crude oil abroad to refine and importing the refined product. It makes no sense. I believe if all our refineries are working, there will be no fuel scarcity and the hardship will be reduced.
I think the privatisation of the refineries is the perfect thing to do. If they privatise these refineries,the best brains will be employed there not just those sitting around and gettingpaid. They will be sacked and the people that are capable will be employed; profit will be maximised.Look at the telecommunication sector that was privatised, we are now reaping the benefits likewise so many other companies that have been privatised.
I want to advise that the privatisation exercise should be on merit. The companies to buy these refineries should be selected on merit, not who you know or how much bribe you have given to a government official. After that, there should be reshuffling of staff in the system and only the best should be employed. So, privatisation of the refineries should be open for credible and serious minded businessmen.
The planned privatisation of the refineries is not a good idea. The refineries under government control will provide more employment opportunities for student especially those studying Petroleum Engineering. Privatising the refineries will create more problems for the country like increase in pump price of petrol; fuel scarcity increases cost of living.
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