The Federal Government in its determination to revamp the Port Harcourt, Warri, and Kaduna refineries is prepared to spend N250 billion.
The federal Government has already spent $32 million (about N 4.9 billion) for materials needed.
This disclosure was made by Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, the Minister of Petroleum Resources, while briefing the Senate Committee on Petroleum Resources (Downstream) over the inability of the government to repair the refineries.
She said, by the fourth quarter of 2014 the three Nigeria refineries would be producing 370, 000 out of the 445, 000 barrels needed per day, which means 90 per cent of the job would have been done.
EShe noted that several maintenance exercises had been performed on the four refineries in the past without results. However, the minister promised that the project will soon commence with the Port Harcourt refinery taking the first turn.
Speaking on the different prices of petroleum across the country, the minister said, “Since the price was changes in January, it has become difficult for the market forces to stabilise at the official price. There is a major issue of supply partly due to subsidy payments. We are battling hard to ensure sufficient supply.”
Asked if the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) was powerless in checking the inconsistencies in prices, she responded, “If you are covering a country as large as Nigeria, there will be issue of pricing.”
“The DPR is, however, moving aggressively in the last months to check the anomaly. Of recent, 75 filling stations have been sealed up across the country over disparity in pricing,” she said.
Answering to the committee, she blamed the recent fuel scarcity in some parts of the country and especially in the South West on the vandalisation of NNPC pipelines in Arepo, Ogun State.
The chair of the committee, Magnus Abe noted, “How can filling stations sell at N97 per litre when the PPMC, as we have discovered, collected money from marketers without supplying them the product on time.”
“Honourable minister, have you ever gone to the depots to see what marketers go through. We were told that you are giving allocation to only those who have godfathers. Unless this anomaly is removed from the source, we can’t force filling stations to sell at official prices,” he said.
Finally, the committee charged the minister to “digitalize” the procedure of apportioning the products to increase transparency, saying the “current analogue process is creating hidden costs.”