Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) has opposed the sale of the refineries as scrap as suggested by the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), saying it is a fraudulent way of stripping the country of its national assets.
PENGASSAN’s National Public Relations Officer, Comrade Emmanuel Ojugbana, described the call by IPMAN as sabotage against national interest.
He lauded the efforts of the government in ensuring that the four state-owned refineries are back on stream, especially with the recent report credited to the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu, that the Kaduna and Port Harcourt Refineries will soon commence production.
Ojugbana said: “Nigerians need to ask the IPMAN leadership why they want the refineries, which can be said to be in good form now to be sold as scrap. Even when the government has shown that the refineries can work and take care of 75 per cent of the nation’s local demand of refined products.”
He said the proof that the refineries are still viable and profitable was exhibited by the Port Harcourt Refining Company (PHRC), which posted a net profit of N11.2 billion for December 2014, representing N8.2 billion or 250 per cent above the N3.2 billion posted by the company in preceding November, 2014.
“This was attributed to the improved financial performance for the phased rehabilitation programme, which was done by the workers,” stating that the challenge confronting the functionality of the refineries is not the ownership. “We have examples of countries even in West Africa, such as Ghana and Chad Republic, just to mention a few where refineries are owned by the government. The refineries in those countries are not only functioning, but Nigeria even imported from them in the past.
“IPMAN should know that aside from the challenge of Turn-Around Maintenance (TAM) of the refineries, adequate and regular supply of crude which is the main feedstock is another major impediment to the efficient and effective operation of the refineries,” he said.