The country’s three refineries in Warri, Port Harcourt and Kaduna are not up for concession or privatisation, as there is no plan to do so, the Federal Government has said.
Rather, the government says that it favours private sector investment and subsequent joint ownership and management of the plants for greater efficiency, adding that it would not spend its money on the refineries anymore.
The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, said this when he received members of the House of Representatives Committee on Petroleum (Upstream), who were on an oversight visit to the ministry on Tuesday.
The minister said this while responding to a question by one of the members as to what exactly was the thinking of the Federal Government on the refineries.
Kachikwu said the government was working hard to bring in private investment capital to strengthen the plants in order to boost the nation’s local refining capacity.
According to a statement issued by the Director of Press, Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources, Idang Alibi, the minister also explained that for the purpose of efficient management of the refineries, the Federal Government would hands-off the plants financially.
“Government’s money will not be committed to the refineries anymore,” Kachikwu said.
According to him, prospective private investors will bring in their money, take part in managing the refineries and from there, they will recoup their investments.
The Chairman of the committee, Victor Nwokolo, said the members were at the ministry to get first hand briefing on its activities, achievements, opportunities and challenges so as to enable the lawmakers know what support they could give.
He suggested that oil companies that failed to pay their signature bonuses to the Federal Government should have their oil block allocations revoked, while those who obtained their licences through the back door should face a similar fate.