Reps order NNPC to stop planned privatisation of refineries

*House of Representatives.

*House of Representatives.

Oscarline Onwuemenyi

26 May 2016, Sweetcrude, Abuja – The House of Representatives Committee on Privatisation and Commercialisation has directed the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, to stop its planned privatisation of the nation’s refineries or joint investment ventures with some multinationals.

The Committee’s Chairman, Hon. Ahmed Yerima (APC, Bauchi), who gave the order yesterday in Abuja during an interactive session with the managements of the NNPC and Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) on the planned privatisation of three refineries in the country, said the process was in breach of relevant laws.

Earlier in his submission, the Group Executive Director, Refineries, at the NNPC, Mr Anibor Kragba, had said the NNPC had no powers to privatise any of its refineries and that they were only seeking funds to get the refineries back to work.

Kragba, who represented the minister of state for petroleum resources and group managing director of the corporation, Dr Ibe Kachikwu, said they decided to put up some publications in certain national dailies on the matter in an effort to have joint investment ventures with interested companies.

For his part, the Acting Director-General, BPE, Mr Vincent Akpotarie, said the refineries that were privatised had been reversed in 2007, but that there were moves towards the end of the former President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration for fresh privatisation of the refineries, which failed.

He added that the BPE was worried about joint venture agreements because of past experience where such ventures failed.

The committee chairman, however, said: “I think there’s a clear violation of the law in seeking investments based on what the BPE DG said.”

Also, members of the committee raised eyebrows when the NNPC representative apparently failed to provide satisfactory answers to some of their inquiries.

This development prompted the committee to immediately adjourn its sitting until such a time when Kachikwu will be able to appear before it to provide a full explanation on the matter.

“I suggest we call off the meeting and you stop all procedures of privatisation, and we are going to report this to the House. It is a total violation of the BPE Act,” Yerima declared.

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