Major Problem Of Warri Refinery Is Lack Of Crude, Says Esele
FORMER President of Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) and Trade Union Congress (TUC), Comrade Peter Esele disclosed yesterday that the major problem of the country’s refineries is lack of adequate crude allocation to refine.
Speaking in an interview with The Guardian, he said that the country’s refineries are working, and wondered why crude is not being allocated to Warri Refinery often by the authorities concern.
“The Warri Refinery is not as bad as it is being painted. The major problem is that it has no crude to refine often. Port Harcourt Refinery worked for 21 days in November last year and generated billions of naira. What has happened since then? I cannot confirm, but there is a school of thought which says that the refineries are being painted bad so that they can be sold to some vested interests at a give-away prices.
“Why is crude not allocated to our refineries often, whereas we export crude often to refine abroad? Why do we believe so much in carrying crude outside to refine? This is a food for thought for the incoming government”, he queried.
On the ongoing row between government and marketers over subsidy payment, the labour activist blamed the government for lack of proper documentation of the subsidy transaction.
“If the government feels that the marketers are defrauding Nigerians, there are many ways to nip it in the bud. There is nothing wrong for the Minister of Finance and the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) to come out with documents that authenticate marketers’ claim or otherwise.
“After all, there are paper trails to confirm the movement of vessels from where they were loaded to their destinations. I am aware that in the past, they manipulate paper trails but there are other ways of tracking such manipulations. So one can easily know how many vessels that are on the sea coming to Nigeria. There are systems to monitor all these, but either by commission or omission, people who are responsible for this have deliberately decided that they are not interested,” Esele said.
On the call for subsidy removal, he said: “Before we do that, we have to ask ourselves we have scarcity now, NNPC keeps telling us that they have 90 days stock. Marketers said they are not importing again, the question is where are the NNPC 90 days stock? It is now that Nigerians need the NNPC 90 days stock to caution the effect of the fuel scarcity.
“If NNPC is doing reconciliation, let them give Nigerians only 30 days stock now. Why is that from the day marketers said that they are not importing again, we have been in trouble? That is the reason I keep talking about process. This is because when you don’t do things right, this is the result you get.
“I will not say yes or no to subsidy removal, but everything must be driven by principle and process. If the principle and process are transparently carried out and effectively communicated to those that are affected, there will be good result and acceptance. If we say we are going to remove subsidy, there are fundamental challenges that will arise that must be addressed. If we say we will continue with subsidy, we must devise means of raising money because subsidy budget for this year is almost exhausted and the year has not gone half. This is why the incoming administration must put on its thinking cap.”