By Henry Umoru
ABUJA—THE Senate has summoned the Group Managing Director of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, Mele Lolo Kyari, and the yet-to -be appointed Minister of State, Petroleum Resources, to appear before it and explain the status of existing refineries in the country.
Also to appear before the yet-to-be constituted Senate Committees on Petroleum Downstream and Upstream are relevant stakeholders in the oil and gas sector and the private sector to advise the standing committees on oil subsidy.
They are also to intimate the Senate on the status of existing refineries, including the status of newly licensed private and modular refineries in the country, just as they are to provide a robust plan/roadmap for exiting importation of refined petroleum products and payment of subsidy; apprise the committee on a plan for domestic refining with specific time frame.
The committees, when constituted, would report back to the Senate in eight weeks.
The Senate also expressed optimism that the Petroleum Industrial Bill, PIB, would be passed and become fully operational.
According to the Senate, the passage of PIB will afford stakeholders, especially the private sector in the oil and gas sector, to fully participate in the industry in future.
Resolutions of the Senate, yesterday, were sequel to a motion, entitled “Exiting Petroleum Subsidy: Ensuring Self-Sufficiency in Domestic Refining of Petroleum Products,” sponsored by Senator Rose Oko (PDP, Cross River North), and co- sponsored by 42 other senators.
Presenting her motion, Senator Oko noted that although Nigeria produces 1.7million barrels of crude oil per day, its moribund refineries had very little refining capacity.
She noted that between 2006 and 2018, at least N10 trillion was spent on petrol import subsidy, adding that in May 2019, the Senate criticized the payment of N11 trillion to oil marketers as subsidy in the last six years.
According to her, the nation imports roughly 90 per cent of its fuel, negating much of the benefits accruing to oil producing nations from high crude prices.
In his remark President of the Senate, Senator Ahmad Lawan, explained that the motion was designed to ensure that the 43 licensed modular refineries became operational, adding that there was need to support them to become active.
He said the Senate must make it a duty to ensure the establishment of modular refineries.