The Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, NUPENG, yesterday called for the rehabilitation of the nation’s refineries to end the recurring fuel scarcity across the country.
The South-West Chairman of the union, Tayo Aboyeji, who made the call in a chat with the News Agency of Nigeria, said it is disheartening to know that despite the fact that the nation is a major producer of crude oil, it cannot refine the product for its local consumption.
He said it is ridiculous that for the past 15 years, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, has been spending billions of dollars on Turn Around Maintenance (TAM) of the refineries with nothing to show for it,” saying if all our four refineries were producing at their maximum output, the country would not be spending such huge sum on importation of refined product.
Aboyeji said this was the right time for our refineries to work, adding that the Federal Government should as a matter of urgency fix the refineries at this moment.
He urged the NNPC to increase product supply to the depots so as to reduce the current scarcity nationwide, saying it was not ripe at the moment for total deregulation of the sector and advised that government should reduce import duty and provide waiver to oil companies to enable them import the product.
On allegations that certain petrol stations were selling products above the official pump price, Aboyeji said the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), should investigate properly before sealing such stations.
He said: “To me, it is not all about the pump price, it is about where they are getting the product from and at what price.”
The NUPENG chief said DPR should first of all verify the price at which the depot owners sell to petrol stations to know if these private depots are selling above the ex-depot price of ₦133.28.
Aboyeji wondered that since DPR started sealing of petrol stations selling above official pump price, if it (DPR), has asked private depots how much they are selling to marketers?
He said oil marketers are in business to make money, saying they cannot get petrol at higher price and sell to motorists at lower price.
He said it is the responsibility of DPR to find out the source of where the marketers are getting the product before sealing the stations.