• Tuesday, July 16, 2024
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BusinessDay

Take decisive stand on refineries, NECA tells FG

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The organised private sector (OPS), under the umbrella body of Nigerian Employ¬ers Consultative Associa¬tion (NECA), has urged the Federal Government to take a decisive stand on the privatisation of the nation’s four refineries. It described as economic waste govern¬ment’s continued involve¬ment in the running of the refineries which presently add little or no real value to the economy.

Nigeria presently runs four poorly maintained and inefficiently managed state-owned refineries sited in Warri, Port Har¬court and Kaduna which operate at far below their capacities, failing to deliver refined products but have large employees drawing heavily from the economy.

Olusegun Oshinowo, the director general of NECA, who restated the position of the OPS re¬garding the refineries and other national issues, said it makes no economic sense for the government to con¬tinue to run the refineries which can be better man¬aged by the private sector, wondering why the Feder¬al Government is fidgeting in taking this all-important decision for the good of the economy.

According to the NECA DG, the privatisation of the refineries is more compel¬ling in view of the fact that they have remained in comatose stage and failed under government’s man¬agement to refine petro¬leum products for local consumption, leaving the country to depend over 80 percent on imported products with intermittent scarcity which often rat¬tles the national economy and puts Nigerians under undue pressure.

The NECA DG, who also touched on other issues, condemned the manner in which some government regulatory agencies tax and pressurise employ¬ers of labour, pointing out that it was stalling wealth creation and hurting the economy.

“Truth is that the pri¬vate sector is key to the development agenda of this country. If we don’t get it right, we will simply not see the benefits of develop¬ment. For any country to make development three factors are key. These are leadership, institution and policies. For us, appropri¬ate institutions must be on ground. Regulatory agen¬cies are part of institutions set up to achieve certain objectives and they are backed by an act of parlia¬ment. However, not all these agencies are working in a way that will support the development of this country.

“Some have turned into money collection/money making ventures. We believe in celebrat¬ing those who are doing well and give reasons why some are not doing well. We are not averse to regulatory agencies but want to make sure stand¬ards are maintained.

“For example, Consumer Protection Council (CPC), which tries to make sure that consumers get value for what they are buying. But, it becomes an issue when such agency in the course of doing its job does it in such a way that it is inimical to business.”