• Wednesday, April 17, 2024
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Senate probes N11.35trn spent on maintenance of moribund refineries

The Nigerian Senate has set up an ad hoc committee to investigate the contracts awarded for the rehabilitation of state-owned refineries.

The refineries have been non-functional for years, despite the series of repairs executed under various Turn Around Maintenance (TAM) contracts that have cost the country a total of N11.35 trillion in 13 years.

The committee will also interrogate the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC), the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Limited NNPCL and the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) on the best approach to commercialize state-owned refineries.

Barau Jibrin, the deputy Senate President, named Isah Jibrin Echocho as the committee chairman. Other members are chairmen of the committees on Petroleum Resources (Downstream, Upstream, and Gas), Finance, Appropriation, and Public Accounts and have been given four weeks to submit the report.

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The resolutions followed a motion by Sunday Karimi, a senator representing Logi West during Tuesday’s plenary.

According to Karimi, Nigeria has spent N11.35 trillion between 2010 and now on the renovation of refineries, yet they remain unproductive. Other costs in other currencies include $592, 976, 050.00 dollars, 4, 877, 068.47 Euros, and 3, 455, 656.93 Pounds. Despite this, the refineries continue to be a serious drainpipe of public finances, depriving the citizens of the joy of being an oil-producing nation.

Between 2010 and 2020, the refineries’ operating costs were estimated at N4.8 trillion. They are estimated to make a cumulative loss of N1.64 trillion within four years.

Karimi expressed his concern that if a thorough investigation of the past and current rehabilitation projects is not undertaken by the Senate, the circle of awarding unproductive turnaround maintenance contracts may not abate, thereby retaining the status quo where rehabilitation contracts have become conduit pipes for siphoning public funds.

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Senators in their various contributions said the country could not continue to spend money on an unproductive venture and urged the relevant authorities to ensure that those responsible for the state of the refineries are sanctioned.

Aliyu Wadada, senator representing Nasarawa, said the high level of corruption while Adamu Aliero, Senator representing Kebbi alleged that economic saboteurs deliberately frustrated the government’s effort to make the refineries work so they continue to benefit from fuel importation.

The Deputy Senate President said that had the refineries working, the country would not be experiencing the current economic hardship.

“It is therefore very important that a thorough investigation should be done to make sure that everything that we need to know is brought open to us.

“Anybody who has a hand sabotaging the government’s efforts to bring these refineries into operation and those who have taken money that is meant to turn around these refineries must be brought to book. We must know them, and decisive actions must be taken,” he said.