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REFINERIES: NNPC mixed signals continue as it reveals plans for total shutdown

REFINERIES: NNPC mixed signals continue as it reveals plans for total shutdown

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has announced its plans to completely shut down three of its four refineries in order to rehabilitate them to attain full capacities.

This disclosure was made by the Group Managing Director of the NNPC, Maikanti Baru on Wednesday on the sidelines of the inaugural Nigerian Pipeline Security Conference and Exhibition.

Baru said the purpose of the closure of the refineries located in Port-Harcourt, Warri, and Kaduna was to revamp and restore them to “what they should be as new refineries”.

According to him, the rehabilitation effort is expected to be thorough unlike in times past, requiring a stretch of time ending in 2019.

What is not clear yet is exactly when the refineries would be shut down, as Baru did not disclose, only stating “when we are ready”.

He said, “As you know, it has been the perception of the public that the repairs of the refineries are never done thoroughly. So this time, our intention is to shut down the refineries when we are ready, and then fully bring them back to what they should be as new refineries.

“Obviously, it is going to be a complex procedure and as such, we have to break down the various work packages to ensure that all the various workforces have sufficient focus, and if you notice the time that we inaugurated (eight committees on the refineries rehabilitation), the work streams are composed of the general managers and executive directors level, and they will be having a day-to-day look at it, while the steering committee is at my level and that of the chief operating officers all looking at the problems the workstations have and they will proffer solutions immediately.

“We intend to focus on the repairs of the refineries with all that it takes to ensure that this time, when we are done by 2019, these refineries will be as good as new”.

This development will be viewed by experts as another twist in the long, complicated narrative about Nigeria’s ailing refineries, one in which the only constant over the years has remained the fact that the country imports virtually all of its consumed refined petroleum products.

More recently, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr Ibe Kachikwu, who was also former NNPC GMD, had repeatedly sent mixed signals about the nation’s refineries.

Kachikwu had initially excitedly briefed the nation that following maintenance works, some of the refineries were performing at average capacities at a near-sustainable level.

Read also: NNPC, ExxonMobil partner to increase crude oil, gas for power generation

Subsequently however, he had announced the need for more thorough works on the refineries to bring them to full capacities, an undertaking he said would cost the nation $1.2b.

The minister had also revealed the existence of a technical committee set up by the government to undertake the review and selection process for possible concession of the refineries, a development interpreted as the first steps towards an outright sale, setting off widespread reactions and speculations.

Govt agencies face probe as JAMB remits N5bn to FG, highest in 40 years

The Federal Government has Wednesday made known its decision to probe some select agencies of government including the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) and the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) over disparities in remittances to the federation account over the years.

Briefing State House correspondents after the weekly Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting, the Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun revealed that JAMB in July announced a remittance of N5 billion to the federal government, its highest in the last 40 years of its existence.

For NIMASA, the minister underscored its record of disparate past remittances, disclosing that NIMASA remitted N4.95 billion in 2015 and N24 billion in 2016.
Adeosun said the discovered disparity in the remittances of JAMB and NIMASA has now warranted the government’s decision to probe all former heads of these agencies and other agencies with similar discrepancies.

“We also reported on the progress made by a number of our agencies some of whom have reported very significant increases in the amount paid into the consolidated revenue fund.

“Council discussed JAMB which recorded significant progress and NIMASA as well as others and gave us the charge to really go and look at these agencies, look in some cases the past management of those agencies and see where those agencies were leaking and to encourage agencies that haven’t done so to continue with efficiencies.

“The highest amount that JAMB has ever remitted to the consolidated revenue fund before this management was N3 million. This year so far they have done N5 billion and the minister of education reported that they have additional N3 billion that they are ready to remit which will take this year’s figure alone to N8 billion.

“Now they have not increased their charges nor their fees. So the question that Council members were asking was that where were all these monies before? So the directive was given that we must call those who were the heads of those agencies and similar ones to account and that is what we intend to do.

“It is a similar stories with other agencies and these are the leakages which we are now blocking. These are the monies in the consolidated fund that is now being applied in the projects that really needs to get the economy moving.

“These are the monies that are missing that have led us to the position we are in. It is the grandest looting that this administration action has come in to address”, the minister stated.

Some observers who have long called for agencies like JAMB to be probed over suspect remittances to the federation account will receive news of this development with relief and anticipation.

They will hope that the government will be able to get to the bottom of the matter, while also ensuring a sustainable system of accountability anchored on the Treasury Single Account (TSA) and other supporting measures that will guarantee that revenue-generating agencies of government not only remit the due revenue, but are seen to be so doing.

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