$1.5b PH Refinery Rehabilitation: Atiku, Ezekwesili Kick

The proposed $1.5b turn around maintenance TAM of the Port Harcourt refinery may hit a brick wall as many Nigerians, including a former Vice President, Alh. Atiku Abubakar and former Minister of Education and Co-converner of Bring Back Our Girls, Oby Ezekwesili have continued to question the rationale behind plunging such amount into rehabilitation of a refinery that has been perennially running at a loss.

Atiku said that plunging $1.5 Billion to renovate the Port Harcourt Refinery is suspicious at the least.

“At this critical period, we must as a nation be prudent with the use of whatever revenue we can generate, and even if we must borrow, we must do so with the utmost responsibility and discipline.

“To therefore budget the sum of $1.5 billion to renovate or turn around the Port Harcourt Refinery would appear to be an unwise use of scarce funds at this critical juncture for an assortment of reasons.

“First of all, our refineries have been loss-making for multiple years, and indeed, it is questionable wisdom to throw good money after bad. At other times, I have counselled that the best course of action would be to privatise our refineries to be run more effectively and efficiently.

“Moreover, the cost appears prohibitive. Too prohibitive, especially as Shell Petroleum Development Company last year sold its Martinez Refinery in California, USA, which is of a similar size as the Port Harcourt refinery, for $1.2 billion. We must bear in mind that the Shell Martinez Refinery is more profitable than the Port Harcourt Refinery.

“Given this discrepancy, might we ask if there was a public tender before this cost was announced? Was due diligence performed? Because we are certainly not getting value for money. Not by a long stretch.

Atiku opined that putting that much into rehabilitation of a refinery at this point is tantamount to funding inefficiency. He as well frowned at the untamed rising national debt which grew from ₦12 trillion in 2015 to ₦32.9 trillion today.

Oby Ezekwesili on her part queried why such amount should be expended in rehabilitation of a refinery that has worked at the least installed capacity. In her verified Twitter handle, Oby asked:

“Did I just actually read that the Federal Executive Council approved a $1.5Billion, as in 1.5Billion US Dollars for ‘rehabilitation’ of Port Harcourt Refinery?

Get real time updates directly on you device, subscribe now.