Reps Back Privatisation Of 4 National Refineries

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Members of the House of Representatives are planning to ask the federal government to privatise the four petroleum refineries in the country.
Chairman, House Committee on Petroleum Upstream, Hon. Ikenga Imo Ugochinyere who revealed this yesterday, said that they are presenting a proposal for the privatisation of the four national refineries in the next few days.
Ugochinyere who spoke during the committee’s courtesy visit to the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) in Abuja, said the committee is basing the proposal on the fact that the rehabilitation of the refineries has gulped funds that would have been sufficient to build new three ones.
He insisted that privatising the refineries will make them more beneficial to the citizenry since they will provide refined petroleum products domestically.
His words: “Let me also propose to you one of the things our committee is going to be championing in the days ahead which is the privatisation of some of our nation’s refineries.
“You will agree with me that for decades we have been on these refinery issues.
“And we have spent money that if they use it to build new refineries we would have built two or three. And then we keep maintaining them over time.
“It is better that these refineries are privatised to make it efficient so that Nigerians can get the benefits they require in refining our products domestically.”
He commended the NEITI executive secretary, Orji Ogbonnaya Orji for the reforms he has been championing in the extractive industries for the benefit of all Nigerians.
He added that NEITI has taken a commendable position by seeking more investments downstream as it has to do with the building of more private refineries.
According to him, establishment of private refineries will help to create more jobs, infrastructure, and result in an efficient and transparent oil industry.
The committee chairman said NEITI needs more funding in terms of budgetary allocation.
“And also we agree with you that the fund we are receiving is not enough for the detailed work that is being done,” he said.
He vowed that the committee will work towards the amendment of the NEITI Act to make provision for the watchdog organisation to retain some percentage of the funds its audit reports lead to their recovery.
Ugochinyere said, “And also we have to find a way to restructure in the amendment of the NEITI Act, a provision that will allow NEITI to keep some certain percentage of what they recover to help them to continue to do this work better.”
He expressed the committee’s readiness to propose a legislature that will strengthen NEITI’s power to discharge its responsibilities.
The reforms, he said, will come in the form of an amendment to the NEITI Act to saddle NEITI with power to take action against offenders.
He further noted that it will also empower NEITI to investigate offences and recommend prosecution of offenders by relevant investigative and prosecuting agencies of the government.
Ugochinyere vowed that the law will ensure that in the course of such investigation, NEITI will be able to sanction stakeholders who refuse to cooperate in the course of discharging its responsibilities like refusal to provide documents for NEITI investigative purposes.
It will also empower the watchdog organisation to also sanction any manipulative and obstructive officials of government that prevents NEITI from carrying out its responsibilities.
Earlier, Orji promised that NEITI will be available to guide the committee with crucial facts and data it requires to oversee the industry.
He added that the committee came at a time when the implementation of the Petroleum Industry Act which this NEITI fought very hard and initiated with the support of the last National Assembly came to fruition after 18 years.


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