Minister of State for Petroleum Resource, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu yesterday said the President Muhammadu Buhari-led government has not spent a dime on the country’s four refineries, an achievement not many have paid attention to.
Kachikwu said this in Abuja during a presentation of three years key achievements of the ministry and award to its staff.
It is estimated that more than N264 billion was spent on turn around maintenance of the refineries by successive governments before the present administration but the plants have failed to deliver.
The minister said all the efforts made so far to fix the refineries have been to find private investors to collaborate with government to put these refineries in order and then save government money.
“What is important is that for the first time, the president had been able to say that he would repair the refineries without government money. Nobody had been able to give attention to that,” Kachikwu said.
“No government one penny had been spent on any refinery,” he added.
“This is because every Turn Around Maintenance (TAM) that we have done in the past has always come up with stories. Wrong contracting models, wrong delivery, wrong work, and we don’t want to go that way.”
He said government’s target was to bring in private sector investors to finance the repairs of the refineries.
“NNPC have struggled to find the financiers, now financiers have finally been found but to agree on terms have been difficult. I am hoping that by the end of this year and first quarter next year we would have completed the commercial aspect of this financial undertaking which is in the excess of over $2 billion.”
Kachikwu said he would love to see a day when there would be no fuel scarcity in the country but for that to happen, the liberalization of the sector was going to be a panacea.
“As long as we continue to subsidize products, create market-unfriendly type practices, we would continue to struggle,” he said.