Port Harcourt — The Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria has described as ‘snail speed’ the pace of the ongoing rehabilitation of the Port Harcourt refinery, announcing that it was practically impossible for the refinery to begin production by next year.
This is as the Managing Director of the Port Harcourt Refining Company Limited, Ahmed Dikko, had disclosed that the rehabilitation of the Port Harcourt Refinery with a refining capacity of 60,000 barrels per day would be completed and put to use by the first quarter of 2023.
Dikko said by the time the entire $1.5billion project is completed by the end of 2024, the refinery would have a refining capacity of 210bpd, assuring to stick to the timelines and within the cost approved for the project.
But IPMAN has sait that it was impossible for the refinery to commence operations with the timeline, saying that even the major components of the refinery were to yet to arrive the country.
IPMAN Chairman in Rivers State, Dr Joseph Obele, who disagreed with the Managing Director of PHRC, said the situation was a tactical approach by the government to remove fuel subisdy by 2023, even when the nation’s four refineries were not functioning.
Obele who is also the AAC Governorship candidate in Rivers State, said if fuel subsidy is removed without the refineries working, Nigerians will be forced to buy the product at Oover N400 per litre.
He maintained that the government was not serious with fixing the refineries, as it was more profitable to sell the crude qouta or allocation meant for local refining in dollars.
“The ongoing rehabilitation is at a “snail speed” and the required parts are yet to arrive at the NPA Onne as we speak. When will the parts arrive? That’s when we can ascertain the commencement of the refinery plant.
“We think it is a tactical approach towards ending subsidy by June 2023.
“We maintain our position that subsidy should be removed when the refineries are functional at optimal capacity; because international events will make Nigerians buy fuel at outrageous rate.
“If the refineries are working, fuel will sell below N100 per litre. But removal of subsidy when our refineries are not working will sell above N400 per litre.
“Nigerians are already facing economic hardship and more shouldn’t be added.
“We can’t wait for the refinery to commence operations any time soon. We will know when they are serious about about it, at the moment, they are not serious, because it pays them more to sell the crude qouta or allocation meant for local refining in dollars. Hence they said ‘it makes no business sense operating the refineries.”
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