The Vice President of Nigeria, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, has said the problems affecting the Nigeria’s refineries will persist if the Federal Government continues to own and run them.
Osinbajo in a virtual meeting organised for the All Progressives Congress bloggers and social media influencers at the APC National Secretariat, in Abuja, on Monday, September 21, said that experience has shown that refineries were better managed by the private sector than the government.
Hence, there is need for the government to restrict itself to providing the regulatory framework for such businesses to thrive rather than to manage the refineries.
He said, “If the refinery is left in the hands of the government, it will continue to experience the same problem it is experiencing now. I do not think that it is the business of the government to run the refinery. It should be the business of the private sector, which is why we are trying to focus on assisting the private sector to develop modular refineries.”
Osinbajo Added that;
“There is a 100,000-barrel capacity refinery about to come on stream and we hope it will by the next year. It is completely private and closely located near the Port Harcourt refinery so that it can share the facilities of the Port Harcourt refinery. We are hopeful it will come on stream in the first quarter of next year.
“There are also six modular refineries that are almost ready. There is Niger Delta Petroleum refinery in Delta state, there is another one in Imo, there is also another modular refinery in Edo State.
“We engaged the oil-producing communities to find a new vision for the Niger Delta and we tried to encourage modular refinery that will give the people in the oil-producing states a stake so that the modular refinery is not just private but the people there have some stake and equity.
“The whole idea is to support as many private refineries as possible. We are also waiting for the Dangote Refinery with 250,000 barrels capacity which is bigger than all of the government refineries put together.
“In the next two or three months, we will see the private sector playing a bigger role and things will quickly improve. We hope that this particular effort will complete the refurbishment of the refineries which will be completed soon but I am more hopeful of the private effort been the key to the future.”
Osibanjo said it was time for the country to do more to develop its gas and renewable energy resources which are cheaper and cleaner and that there is a whole lots of ideas to support private refineries as possible.