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With refinery’s $1.5b, Nigeria can build 12 world-class hospitals, says Peterside

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Atedo N A Peterside

At a time President Muhammadu Buhari and other Nigerians spend over N576 billion yearly on medical tourism, founder of Stambic IBTC Bank, Atedo Peterside, has said that 12 world-class hospitals can be built from the $1.5 billion the Federal Government plans to spend on the rehabilitation of Port Harcourt Refinery.

The business mogul noted that 12 world-class hospitals could be built at $125 million each –two in each of the six geopolitical zones.

Peterside, who had vehemently opposed government’s plan to invest in the old refineries, said government needed to “allow private sector investors to purchase the refinery and rehabilitate it with their own funds.”

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Speaking during a programme on AIT, Peterside said the country must shift attention to things like healthcare, having witnessed the impact of the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19).

Describing the rehabilitation plan as borrowing money to squander, Peterside said the government should be wise enough to understand the dynamics of the petroleum industry, especially as the rest of the world moves away from fossil fuels.

The Federal Executive Council (FEC), presided over by Buhari, had approved $1.5 billion, about N575 billion, for rehabilitation of the largest refining company in the country, the 32-year-old Port Harcourt Refinery.

But the project appeared not to go down well with most industry experts, who noted that expending such fund on refinery rehabilitation should never be a priority for the government.

Taking to his official Twitter page, @atedopeterside, the business mogul said: “Federal Government should halt $1.5 billion approval for repair of Port Harcourt Refinery and subject this brazen and expensive adventure to an informed national debate.”

He added that many experts preferred the refinery to be sold by the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) to core investors with proven capacity to repair it with their own funds.

He urged that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to think in the line of gas for cars and align with other global forward-thinking companies.

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