• Friday, May 24, 2024
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Broken promises, broken refineries: The urgent need for privatisation

Broken promises, broken refineries: The urgent need for privatisation

Nigerians are accustomed to a recurring cycle of dashed hopes in the oil industry. The recent pronouncements by Senator Ifeanyi Ubah regarding the imminent revival of the Port Harcourt and Warri refineries are met with weary scepticism, a stark contrast to the elation such pronouncements should inspire.

This editorial piece calls for a decisive shift in strategy. The government’s track record of missed deadlines, mismanagement, and spiralling costs paints a grim picture. The proposed 2024 restart date for these refineries rings hollow, echoing a string of unfulfilled promises stretching back to the beginning of the current administration.

Meanwhile, the privately owned Dangote Refinery stands as a glaring testament to what could be. Operating at a capacity exceeding the combined output of the Port Harcourt and Warri facilities, it injects much-needed fuel into the domestic market. This stark contrast underscores the ineffectiveness of government control.

The human cost of this inefficiency is undeniable. Fuel imports cause the annual bleeding of billions, depleting critically needed resources elsewhere. In an attempt to lessen the burden on citizens, subsidies actually make matters worse by impeding economic growth and fuel shortages that have recently occurred.

The solution is clear: privatisation. This board urges the administration of President Bola Tinubu, with his background in the private sector, to seize this opportunity. Privatisation is not simply a pragmatic response; it is a catalyst for economic revitalisation. It would attract much-needed foreign investment, expertise, and innovation, a stark departure from the government’s current course.

Q: “Privatisation is not simply a pragmatic response; it is a catalyst for economic revitalisation. It would attract much-needed foreign investment, expertise, and innovation, a stark departure from the government’s current course.”

Learning from the missteps of the Obasanjo-era privatisation is crucial. While they serve as a cautionary tale, they also offer invaluable lessons on transparency and accountability. By implementing robust oversight and ensuring all transactions meet stringent standards, Nigeria can avoid past pitfalls.

Successful privatisation efforts in major oil producers, from the UK’s efficient refineries to Saudi Arabia’s dynamic energy sector, demonstrate its potential as a catalyst for innovation, efficiency, and growth. By drawing inspiration from these success stories and tailoring them to Nigeria’s context, President Tinubu can pave the way for a new era of prosperity in the oil industry.

President Tinubu has a chance to transform Nigeria’s economic trajectory. He can seize this historic opportunity to send a clear message: Nigeria is ready to embrace innovation and entrepreneurship. Swift and transparent privatisation of the refineries is more than just fixing outdated facilities; it is about igniting an economic revival that will create jobs, attract expertise, and propel Nigeria forward. Tinubu’s commitment is not a political stunt; it is a visionary step towards a brighter future for all Nigerians.

The time for procrastination is over. Nigeria cannot afford to remain shackled by a broken system that drains resources and stifles progress. Decisive action towards privatisation is not just necessary; it is the only path towards sustainable economic growth and a brighter future for all Nigerians.

By embracing privatisation, Nigeria can unlock a wave of investment, attract the expertise needed for modernisation, and finally achieve self-sufficiency in refined fuels. This will not only translate to financial stability but also empower the nation to focus on critical areas like education, infrastructure development, and job creation. The path forward is clear. President Tinubu must seize this opportunity to usher in a new era of prosperity for Nigeria and its people.