Contrary to public speculations that the Federal Government was planning concession of the Port Harcourt refinery to Agip/Eni and Oando, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, has maintained that government will not sell or concession Nigeria’s oil refineries to private firms.
He spoke during a public hearing inter-face with Senate Ad-hoc committee looking into the planned concession of the Port Harcourt refinery to Agip/Eni and Oando at the National Assembly Complex.
According to him, what’s going on is that a technical committee has been set up by the government to undertake a review stating that the committee is coming up with a holistic investment figure enough to fix the nation’s refineries.
The Minister also denied the swapping method of payment that was earlier reported by national dailies saying that he had no agreement with any company that the crude Barrel should be exchanged in form of payment.
He added that it is cost effective to build a new refinery than repairing the old refinery due to inability to get the spare part for the existed one.
Reacting to question raised from one of the committee member, the Minister said his tenure has initiated a deal of selling and buying method of the products instead of earlier method of swapping crude as a means of payment for the supply of refined products.
The committee however, demanded the real cost of the concession to the nation as well as the real time frame of the concession.
From the revelation given by the Managing Director of Oando Pls., through his media publication, it was made clear that there is an ongoing plan for the repair and maintenance of the Port Harcourt refinery which was also considered as concession.
The Senate had set up a seven-man ad-hoc committee to probe the $15 billion contract, and give the members a mandate to inquest and reveal how and why such a deal was sealed and the criteria used to select Agip/ENI and Oando Plc as the beneficiaries of the concession agreement which is to maintain and operate the Port Harcourt Refinery.
The Upper Chamber had also ordered the immediate stoppage of all processes and transactions on the planned concession of the refinery to the firms.