By Afolabi Oyekunle.
Nigeria needs at least 100 refineries to have adequate locally produced petroleum to meet the daily needs of her over 200million people. The Federal government must therefore have the political will to urgently rehabilitate the four moribund refineries and make them work, and create enabling environment to encourage investors to build refineries..
This advice is coming from the immediate Chairman of the Lagos Zonal Council of the National Union of Petroleum Energy and Natural Gas, NUPENG, Comrade Tokumbo Korodo. Comrade Korodo, an Alhaji who spoke to CityNews Correspondent Afolabi Oyekunle in his office said the federal government should have the political will to address the problems in the oil and gas industry.
On the current scarcity and increase in retail price of fuel in filling stations, Alhaji Korodo said the yearly recurrent problem would continue as long as the government continues to use the system that is not working. He said for the problems to be holistically addressed Nigeria must produce enough petroleum locally and stop relying on importation of fuel.
According to the former Chairman of NUPENG in Lagos State, who is also the Vice Chairman of Nigeria Labour Congress in Lagos State,
the country has enough crude oil and well endowed, and it is not in her interest to continue to rely on fuel importation. He said the government should create enabling environment for investors to build refineries as the country needs at least 100 refineries to adequately satisfy the over 200 million population.
Speaking on the increase in fuel prices and the differential prices at the fuel station, he blamed it on the dominance of the NNPC in importing fuel and its lack of adequate storage facilities to import large quantities and distribute. Alhaji Korodo said NNPC rely on major marketers who have large storage facilities which NNPC lack.
He said the major marketers now monopolies the oil they have in their storage selling with extra cost making retail outlets to sell at differential prices.
Comrade Korodo said with the situation on ground only the major marketers can sell below 200naira, while others who buy at higher prices have to sell on rate that would grant them profit. He added that IPMAN members who are not major marketers are at the mercy of the major marketers and NNPC.
On the deregulation plan of the government, he said Labour, Experts and well meaning people are not against deregulation but should be local content in which the policy should be based on Nigeria producing oil not importing.
Comrade Korodo however said the government inclination is towards import driven deregulation which will would not be in the interest of the country. He said no right thinking investors would want to build refineries in the country when it is cheaper to import fuel and make profit.
He said if the government is sincere with the deregulation policy it will have the backing of majority of Nigeria and would encourage investors in the country.