The upper chamber of the National Assembly on Tuesday put modality in place to investigate all the contracts awarded for the rehabilitation of all state-owned refineries said to have gulped N11.35 trillion in 13 years.
The Senate, which raised an ad hoc committee to carry out the investigation, mandated the panel to interrogate the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC), Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Limited (NNPCL) and Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) on the best approach to commercialise state-owned refineries.
The Senate gave the directive to its Ad-hoc committee, during plenary on Tuesday presided over by the Deputy President of the Senate, Barau Jibrin (APC, Kano).
Jibrin, who presided over the plenary named Senator Isah Jibrin Echocho as the chairman of the committee, while the chairmen of the committees on Petroleum Resources (Downstream, Upstream and Gas), Finance, Appropriation, and Public Accounts are members. They are to submit the report within four weeks.
The resolutions of the Senate to probe, followed a motion by Senator Sunday Karimi (APC, Kogi).
Nigeria’s four refineries in Kaduna, Warri and Port Harcourt had become moribund for years despite the series of repairs executed under various Turn Around Maintenance (TAM) contracts that had gulped huge amounts.
Leading debate on the motion, Karimi expressed concern that the state-owned refineries in Nigeria have been a serious drain pipe of public finance, depriving the citizens of the joy of being an oil producing nation.
He said between 2010 to date, Nigeria is estimated to have spent N11.35 trillion, excluding other cost in other currencies which include $592, 976, 050.00 dollar, 4, 877, 068.47 Euros and 3, 455, 656.93 Pounds, on renovation of refineries, yet they are unproductive.
He said despite the moribund state of the four refineries, their operating costs between 2010 and 2020 is estimated at N4.8 trillion.
The refineries are estimated to make cumulative loss of N1.64 Trillion, within 4years, he added.
He expressed worry that if a thorough investigation of the past and current rehabilitation projects is not undertaken by the Senate, the circle of awarding unproductive turn around maintenance contracts may not abate, thereby retaining the status quo where rehabilitation contracts have become conduit pipes for siphoning pubic funds.
In their various contributions, Senators said the country could not continue to spend money on an unproductive venture.
They urged the relevant authorities to ensure that those responsible for the state of the refineries are sanctioned.
On his part, Adams Oshiomhole (APC, Edo), said, “the amount so far spent on the refineries can build brand new ones. Senators must take the issues with all seriousness it deserves.”
While Senator Aliyu Wadada (SDP, Nasarawa) decried the high level of corruption in the country, Adamu Aliero (PDP, Kebbi) alleged that economic saboteurs deliberately frustrated government’s effort to make the refineries to work so that they can continue to benefit from fuel importation.
In his remarks, the Deputy President of the Senate said, “it is therefore very important that a thorough investigation should be done to make sure that everything that we need to know is brought open to us.
“Who are those who are sabotaging the efforts of government? Anybody who has a hand, sabotaging the efforts of the government to bring these refineries into operation and those who have taken money that is meant to turn around these refineries must be brought to book. We must know them and decisive actions must be taken.”