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NECA DG hinge Nigeria’s hope of ending subsidy on functioning refinery

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The Director-General of the Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA), Adewale Oyerinde has stated that if the country’s refineries were operational, subsidy would die naturally.

Speaking at a press conference in Lagos, he argued that if the local refineries were operational and supplemented by the Dangote Refinery, the country has the capacity to refinery petroleum products that would meet its daily needs.

He said, “15 to 25 years ago, I am not sure we were having conversations about subsidy, because subsidy was not present. We were not importing as such. Three or four refineries were working optimally and it was taking care of the local consumption of fuel.

“At that point those refineries started having self-inflicted problems, self-destructive tendencies and we do turnaround maintenance that does not maintain the refineries and progressively importation became the option.”

According to him, if the refineries were working, the country would probably not import fuel.

“We will probably be thinking of exporting now with the Dangote Refinery also coming up. Therefore, we are dealing with the issue of subsidy because we import fuel for local consumption.

“Our position is this, subsidy is not sustainable. There was a recent report that projected that by the end of the year 2023, subsidy might run to N11 trillion. No country in the world is arguably subsidizing anything to the tune of N11tn.

This year, our total budget deficit is nearly N9 trillion.

“The subsidy alone will be close to N6 trillion next year,” Oyerinde claimed.

He urged the government to repair the local refineries and to explain the turnaround maintenance performed on the refineries.

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He suggested that the government ask those who were paid to perform turnaround maintenance on the refineries but did not do so to refund the money they were paid.

“Anybody that has collected money but has not done the job should be prosecuted.

“Once the refineries are working complimented with Dangote’s refinery, we would probably not have any business subsidising fuel,” Oyerinde asserted.

According to him, if the country were saving N6tn yearly, it would have a positive impact on its infrastructural development.

“You can imagine what N6 trillion will do for us. That N6tn is what we are only using to fund consumption. It is consumption that is not productive,” he stated.

He expressed worry over the disagreement between the NNPC and customs over the volume of petrol consumed daily in the country.

“There was a time that a CBN official went to represent the governor at the National Assembly. They also questioned him about the amount spent on subsidy.

“These are very top-ranking officials of the government that have information that we do not have. They have raised very fundamental issues that bother on the integrity of everybody in that value chain,” he mentioned.

He argued that the integrity of the Group Managing Director of NNPC, those working in the downstream sector and the Nigerian Customs Service is at stake.

He called the government to set up a panel of enquiry to ascertain the daily petrol consumption of the country.

“Let us fix our refineries and let us remove subsidies. It is not rocket science. If an individual can build a gigantic refinery in three years, we do not have any reason not to fix ours,” he queried.

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