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House of Representatives launches probe into $396.33 million spent in fixing refineries between 2015 to 2019

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THE House of Representative has begun investigation into the financial allocations set aside for ‘Turn-Around Maintenance’ of the petroleum refineries in Port Harcourt, Warri and Kaduna, estimated to have cost $396.33 million in four years, according to a report.

The inquiry was initiated following the motion titled “Call for investigation of the $396.33 million allegedly spent in four years on turn around maintenance of the nation’s three refineries.”

At the plenary session, Ifeanyi Momah, representing Ihiala federal constituency of Anambra State called for the inquiry, alleging that the amount spent on maintenance of the facilities had not yielded the desired results.

The House also called on the Federal Government to consider “divesting a certain percentage of its shareholding in the Port Harcourt, Warri and Kaduna refineries to competent investors under a transparent and fair bidding process.”

Also, the House mandated the Committee on Petroleum Resources (Downstream) to conduct an investigative hearing into the maintenance expenses made from 2015 to date while the committee was to submit its findings within eight weeks.

Momah stated that Nigeria had been living with the “derogatory appellation” of being a major oil-producing nation that is heavily reliant on importation of refined petroleum products for its domestic consumption as a result of its low local refining capacity.

In a Twitter post, he stated the Nigerian people need an explanation of how the money was spent in refurbishing the refineries.

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He also said this was in spite of the fact that the country has three major refineries with an installed capacity to refine 445,000 barrels per day, enough for domestic consumption and export.

“This objective has not been realised owing to a combination of factors, including corruption and inefficiency in the running of the refineries.

“The House observes the assertion by the Nigeria National Resource Charter in the report that the NNPC spent a whopping $396.33m between 2013 and 2017 to carry out repair works.

“We also observed the claim that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, spent N276.872 billion on operating expenses of the refineries between 2015 and 2018, as well as $36 billion on the importation of petroleum products between 2013 and 2017,” he said.

According to the lawmaker, the goal of establishing local refining facilities as a socio-economic game-changer has continued to elude the country’s oil and gas industry.

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