The Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) on Monday called for the rehabilitation of the nation’s refineries to end the recurring scarcity of petrol in the country.
Mr Tayo Aboyeji, the South-West Chairman of the union made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos.
“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.
“It is ridiculous that for the past 15 years now, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) had been spending billions of dollars on Turn Around Maintenance (TAM) of the refineries with nothing to show for it.
“If all our four refineries are producing at their maximum output, the country will not be spending billion of naira on importation of refined product.
“This is the right time for our refineries to work, the Federal Government should as a matter of urgency fix the refineries now,” he said.
The chairman urged the NNPC to increase supply of petrol to depots in order to reduce the scarcity nationwide.
According to Aboyeji, it is not yet time for total deregulation of the sector and advised the government to reduce import duty and provide waiver to oil companies to import the product.
On petrol stations selling above the official pump price, Aboyeji urged the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) to investigate properly before sealing such stations.
“To me, it is not all about the pump price; it is about where they are getting the product and how much they are getting it.
“Are these private depots selling above the ex-depot price of N133.28?
“Since DPR started the sealing of petrol stations that are selling above official pump price, we have not seen them asking questions in private depots how much they are selling to marketers.
“Oil marketers are in business to make money; they cannot get petrol at higher price and sell at lower price.
“It is the responsibility of DPR to find out the source of where the marketers are getting the product before sealing the stations,” he said.
Dr. Titus Okunronmu, a former Director, Budgetary Department, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), on Monday, advised the Federal Government to repair all the four refineries in the country.
Okunronmu told newsmen in Ota, Ogun, that the revamping of the nation’s refineries would increase domestic supply and end current scarcity of petroleum products.
According to him, the government would also earn foreign exchange from the importation of refined products if the refineries are working at optimal level.
“By earning foreign exchange from importation of its refined products, the Federal Government would be able to diversify the economy effectively and create jobs for unemployed youths,’’ he said.
He also urged the government to halt export of crude oil so as to reduce borrowing and pressure on the nation’s currency.
Credit: News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).