The Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) on Monday stressed the urgent need for the rehabilitation of the nation’s refineries to end the recurring scarcity of petrol in the country.
Mr. Tayo Aboyeji, the South-West chairman of the union in an interview in Lagos, said that billions of dollars had been sunk for maintenance purposes with no progress made.
“It is disheartening to know that despite the fact that the nation is a major producer of crude oil, it cannot refine the product for local consumption.
“It is ridiculous that for the past 15 years now, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has been spending billions of dollars on Turn Around Maintenance (TAM) of the refineries with nothing to show for it.
“If all our four refineries are producing at their maximum level, the country will not be spending billions of naira on importation of refined products.
“This is the right time for our refineries to work, the Federal Government should as a matter of urgency fix the refineries now,” he said.
The chairman urged the NNPC to increase supply of petrol to depots in order to reduce the scarcity nationwide.
According to Aboyeji, it is not yet time for total deregulation of the sector and advised the government to reduce import duty and provide waiver to oil companies to import the product.
On petrol stations selling above the official pump price, Aboyeji urged the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) to investigate properly before sealing such stations.
“To me, it is not all about the pump price; it is about where they are getting the product and how much they are getting it.
“Are these private depots selling above the ex-depot price of N133.28?
“Since DPR started the sealing of petrol stations that are selling above official pump price, we have not seen them asking questions in private depots how much they are selling to marketers.
“Oil marketers are in business to make money; they cannot get petrol at higher price and sell at lower price.
“It is the responsibility of DPR to find out the source of where the marketers are getting the product before sealing the stations,” he said.