The Senate has set up an ad hoc committee to investigate the contracts awarded for the rehabilitation of the four state-owned refineries in Port Harcourt, Kaduna and Warri from 2010 to 2023.
The committee was mandated by a motion moved by Senator Karimi Sunday (APC- Kogi) on Tuesday, who expressed concern over the huge amount of public funds spent on the refineries without any positive outcome.
According to Mr Sunday, Nigeria has spent an estimated N11.35 trillion on renovating the refineries in the last 13 years, yet they remain unproductive and inefficient.
He said the federal government has also spent over N6 trillion on fuel subsidies between 2010 and 2020 due to the low refining capacity of the country and has wasted almost twice that amount on turnaround maintenance projects on the refineries in the same period.
He said that despite the huge expenditure, the refineries are still making a cumulative loss of N1.64 trillion within four years and have an operating cost of N4.8 trillion between 2010 and 2020.
He said that the Port Harcourt refinery, which has undergone several rehabilitation projects since 2013, is still not functional and is expected to resume operations by June 2023.
He also said that the Kaduna refinery, which has received N2.266 billion for its rehabilitation in February 2023, is still not operational and is projected to attain 60 per cent capacity by early 2024.
He urged the Senate to intervene and ensure accountability and transparency in the management of the refineries and prevent further waste of scarce resources.
The motion was seconded by Senator Isa Jibril (APC-Kogi), who said it was worrisome that N4.8 trillion was spent on operating costs when the refineries were not functional.
Other senators who contributed to the debate also expressed their dismay over the situation of the refineries and called for a thorough investigation and prosecution of those responsible for the mismanagement.
The Senate then resolved to direct the committee to ascertain the progress of the ongoing works in all refineries and interrogate the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, the NUPRC, NNPCL, and BPE on the best approach to commercialising or ensuring the profitability of the state-owned refineries.
The committee was also asked to invite the NNPCL, NUPRC and LNG to explain the nation’s preparation for green energy sources in line with the Paris Agreement on climate change.
The committee, chaired by Senator Isah Jibrin (APC -Kogi), was given four weeks to submit its report.
Deputy Senate President Barau Jubrin, who presided over plenary, said those found to have taken resources meant for the functioning of refineries should be brought to book.