Damilola Shittu – Abuja
The Senate on Thursday agreed to probe the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) over the $396m expended on turnaround maintenance of refineries in the country between 2013 and 2015.
The red chamber also mandated the committees on Petroleum Downstream, Upstream and Gas to carry out a holistic investigation into the expenditure incurred by the Federal Government within the period under consideration.
The Senate panels were also mandated to assess the current state of the refineries as well as convoke a stakeholders’ conference with the aim of finding ways to revamp them.
The decision to investigate the spending on maintenance of the refineries by the corporation was reached after consideration of a motion brought to the floor by Senator Yusuf Yusuf.
According to the senator, the refineries were established to adequately supply and serve the needs for Liquefied Petroleum Gas, Premium Motor Spirit, Dual Purpose Kerosene, Automotive Gas Oil, Low Pour Fuel Oil, High Pour Fuel Oil and Aviation Turbine Kerosene for both local consumption and exports.
He said, “The country through the NNPC has in the past 25 years spent billions of dollars on turnaround maintenance of the refineries, the latest being over $396m spent between 2013 and 2015 without meaningful result.
“The refineries have remained in a moribund state in the last 15-20 years and are almost reaching total collapse due to lack of proper maintenance of the facilities with a poor average capacity utilisation hovering between 15 per cent and 25 per cent per annum.
“Despite the huge spending on turnaround maintenance of refineries, the NNPC recently announced a cumulative loss of N123.25bn in 10 months.
“This has put the total revenue of facilities at N68.82bn, while the total expense incurred was N192.1bn within the same period.”
He added that such huge wastage amidst the nation’s tight economy, if not addressed, could lead the country back to recession.