By Ephraim Oseji
Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chieftain and former Delta State Governorship aspirant, Chief Sunny Onuesoke has described Federal Government approval of $1.5bn for the rehabilitation of Port Harcourt refinery as another financial jamboree.
Recalled that the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva while briefing newsmen at the end of the Federal Executive Council, FEC, meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari at the Council Chamber, Presidential Villa, Abuja, on Thursday said that the Federal Government has approved $1.5bn for the rehabilitation of Port Harcourt refinery
He explained that the first phase would be completed in 18 months, the second phase in 24 months and the final phase would be within 44 months.
Reacting to the pronouncement of the Minister on Thursday at Muritala Mohammed International Airport while boarding a flight to United States, Onuesoke said it is waste of tax payers money for the Federal Government to continue to invest in refineries that contribute zero product but rather have consumed billions of dollars every year from the economy for the past years.
Querying what it will cost to build a new refinery that the Federal Government has to sink $1.5b into repairs alone, the PDP chieftain advised the Government to sell the four refineries which he described as old scrabs and us the fund to build new ones.
“Another rehabilitation? Why not sell off the old scraps that never worked and build new ones? Nigeria as a nation is a massive theatre of comedy and waste of fund. Since the past years, we have been reading about millions of Dollars invested in rehabilitation or Turn Around Maintenance (TAM) of the refineries but never heard they refined any fuel. In the past five years, the refineries have been producing just dust. It’s ridiculous for anyone to suggest that they will get it to 90% production level if rehabilited. Nigerians should see this new approval for what it is as another waste of public fund,” he stated.
He suggested that the government should sell all the four refineries and use the fund to build one new refinery that will serve the nation efficiently instead of continuous waste of fund in the four refineries under the guise of rehabilitation or Turn Around Maintainance.
“Beside, instead of spending all that lot for the rehabilitation of a single refinery, the Government should use $5m in establishing modular refinery in each state of the federation. This will be more productive than investing $1.5bn in the rehabilitation of a refinery in which there will be no result at the end,” he advised.