The Trade Union Congress (TUC) on Tuesday, lampooned the Federal Government for flaunting dead refineries after wasting $9.5 billion on them in the last 10 years in the name of Turnaround Maintenance.
National President of the TUC, Quadri Olaleye, also frowned at what he described as deep-seated corruption and legendary tardiness that ruined the nation’s refineries, leaving the country with no option but to become a net importer of refined petroleum products.
Olaleye, who spoke in Abuja at the inauguration of new executives of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association (IPMAN), tasked the government to take pragmatic steps to put the ailing refineries in order and ultimately encourage private sector participation in establishing modular refineries to mitigate the huge cost of importation of refined petroleum products.
He said:” Even with Nigeria’s status of being one of the largest oil-producing countries, the energy crises that have befallen us as a nation are well known and this is solely due to the incompetence and corruption of the government. The fuel subsidy and the proposed hike in fuel price is a rather prominent and recurring one. Nigeria is the only OPEC member country that imports more than 90 to 95per cent of refined petroleum products for consumption.
“Nigeria has a total of 5 refineries in the country of which four are owned and managed by the government, and one by NDPR.
“It might interest you to know that none of the government-owned refineries is functioning, yet in the past 10 years alone, the government has wasted about $9.5billion for turnaround maintenance of the moribund refineries.
“Please note that TUC is not against the removal of the fuel subsidy if it will yield positive results. Rather, we are inquisitive as to what the government has to offer following the removal. How can we trust the government and be certain that they will actually remove it this time around, because in the past, they have claimed to remove the so-called ‘subsidy’, so how can what has been removed be removed again? Will there be construction and utilisation of modular refineries as the government has previously promised and failed to deliver? Will there be the rehabilitation of existing moribund refineries? What will the government do to put an end to dependence on imported fuel? It is imperative to note these questions because we need adequate answers on what the government has to offer as failed promises from them have become the order of the day.