Port Harcourt — Getting the nation’s four refineries to operate at optimum capacity, using the NLNG model, is the only lasting solution to the fluctuations in the pump price of fuel, the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, PENGASSAN, has said.
The senior oil workers union explained that it will be impossible for NNPC to completely deregulate the petroleum downstream sector, when the country does not refined her own fuel, hence, Nigerians will continue to buy fuel at higher rate.
PENGASSAN Chairman, Port Harcourt Zone, Comrade Azubuike Azubuike, stated that since crude oil price is the feedstock, refined products will go for a higher price, when the global prices of crude oil increases, which explains why the federal government had to increased the pump price of fuel.
Azubuike who spoke exclusively to our correspondent, pointed out the cost of importing refined products into the country, explaining that even on the high sea, smaller vessels used to transport the products onshore, which also translates to increased cost.
He regretted Nigeria’s over dependence on crude oil, and called for diversification into agriculture and manufacturing, as the only way to revamped the nation’s ailing economy.
“When the price of crude oil dropped to less than $20, it prompted the government to reduced the pump price of pms to N123, but oil prices now have increased to about $40, coupled with increase in exchange rate and you know Nigerian economy is dollarised, since these oil is bought and sold in dollars, which also affect our purchasing power.
“However, we should not continue to run this ostrich kind of game. Until our government is responsible enough to fix our refineries, we will continue to play this kind of game.
“NNPC announced that it has deregulated the downstream sector, but it becomes difficult when we don’t have price stability and our refineries are not working to optimum capacity. Until we are able to fix our refineries, we will keep on experiencing this.
“It will be impossible to deregulate the downstream sector, because if you allowed market forces to take over, when we don’t even produce ours. Then how will people sort out foreign exchange?
“Until we start refining, we will not be able to do anything. Today, everyone is glamouring for Dangote refinery, which cannot be the solution to all our problems
“As a union, we have proposed to the government to get the refineries working using the NLNG model, unfortunately they have not been able to that.”
The PENGASSAN Zonal boss emphasised that political leaders do not have any atom of love for the country, and wondered why billions of Naira are reportedly spent for turn-around-maintenance yearly on the refineries, with nothing to show for it.
“As far as I am concerned, we don’t have leaders who have passion for this country. Infact, a lot of our politicians do not believe that this country can survive, this they display through their attitudes. How can we keep on spending billions on the refineries in the name of TAM , yet nothing to show for it?
“The manufacturing sector is not working in the country, we don’t manufacture anything. We only depend on crude oil, which we do not control the price at international market. We keep on borrowing to fund our budget. When we’re borrowing and the source of our revenue is dwindling, how do we pay? We mortgaged the future of the country.
“What do we manufacture in this country? We’re mainly a consuming country, so if we get our refineries working and the manufacturing sector working, it will help revived the economy. And that’s why I said our leaders do not have love for this country.”