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Ex-CBN Director tasks FG on ailing refineries

Port Harcourt refinery Ex-CBN Director tasks FG on ailing refineries

A picture was taken on September 16, 2015, shows workers trying to tie a pipe of the first refinery in Nigeria, which was built in 1965 in oil-rich Port Harcourt, Rivers State. The Port Harcourt refinery is Nigeria’s oldest, built-in 1965, nine years after crude was first found under the marshy soil and creeks of the delta, where the Niger river meanders to the Gulf of Guinea. Refineries in nearby Warri and Kaduna in the north-central region were built in the years that followed, while a new plant was added to the same site in Port Harcourt in 1989. In recent years, however, it became a byword for corruption, a murky, state-run body where billions of dollars in revenue apparently disappeared.    Dr. Titus Okunronmu, a former Director, Budgetary Department, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has urged the Federal Government to resuscitate all the nation’s refineries towards addressing the problem of fuel importation.   Okunronmu made the call while speaking with Newsmen in Ota, on Friday.   He was reacting to Wednesday’s increase in the pump price of petrol from N121.50 to N143.80 by the federal government.   The former CBN director said that the inability of the four refineries to work effectively had been a major challenge facing the nation’s economy.   He noted that Nigeria would not overcome the problem of importing refined petroleum products until the federal government resuscitates all the refineries.   “There is no member of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Country(OPEC) that is exporting crude oil and importing refined products in return.   “What is stopping the country from having refineries that are effectively working,” he said.   Okunronmu stressed the need for the government to repair the refineries in Warri, Kaduna, and Port-Harcourt, to generate employment opportunities for youths in the country.   He added that the country could generate more revenue by exporting its refined products to West African countries.   Okunronmu said that if the refineries were working, they would provide by-products like gear oil and engine oil for the oil industry.   The former Director said that the implication of the increase in pump price was that Nigerians would spend more to buy petrol, while more funds would be generated by the federal government.   He urged the government to use the money generated from the increase judiciously towards building a sustainable economy.

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