The Federal Government will no longer invest in the repairs of the country’s refineries, and would also not concession or privatize the refineries.
The Minister of State for Petroleum, Mr. Ibe Kachikwu, made the disclosure when he received members of the House of Representatives on an oversight visit to the ministry.
Kachikwu stated that rather than concession or privatise the refineries, the government would encourage private sector investment and subsequent joint ownership and management of the facilities for greater efficiency.
He explained that the Federal Government was working hard to bring in private investment capital to strengthen the refineries in order to boost the nation’s local refining capacity.
He said, “For the purpose of efficient management of the refineries, government money will not be committed to the refineries any more. Prospective private investors will bring in their money, take part in managing the refineries and from there recoup their investment.”
Reeling out some of the achievements of the ministry, Kachikwu noted that since the deregulation of the downstream of the petroleum sector in June, the masterstroke has ensured the availability of petrol at filling stations across the country at affordable prices.
He added that the roadshows to China and India have secured for the nation Memoranda of Understandings (MOU) worth about $80 billion and that efforts are now on to give effect to the MOUs so that real money can enter into the domestic economy.
He said his next port of call in terms of a roadshow is the Gulf States from which Nigeria hopes to secure investment especially into the refinery sector. He said he also has eyes on another commercial roadshow to the USA where he hopes to ensure that Nigeria gets back her crude oil market in that country.
The Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Petroleum (Upstream) Committee, Mr. Victor Nwokolo, who led the legislators on the visit, called on the Federal Government to revoke oil blocks allocated to oil and gas companies which fail to pay signature bonuses to the Federal Government and those which obtained their licences through the back door.
Nwokolo said the lawmakers were in the Ministry of Petroleum Resources to get first hand briefing on its activities, achievements, opportunities and challenges to enable the Committee know what support it can give for it to achieve greater results for the benefit of the national economy. He further commended Kachikwu on the achievements so far recorded in the ministry under his watch.