The Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria has supported the move by the Federal Government to privatise the nation’s refineries, saying it is a step in the right direction.
The Secretary General, MOMAN, Mr. Obafemi Olawore, during a press briefing in Lagos on Tuesday, urged the Federal Government to ensure that the privatisation process was transparent and open to both local and international bidders with requisite technical knowhow and financial muscle to transform the ailing refineries.
He said, “I support the privatisation of the refineries and the reason is that it will bring in private sector efficiency. However, the privatisation should have some basic ingredients. Unlike the one that was done 24 hours before former President Olusegun Obasanjo left office, this one must be transparent, competitive and open to international bidders.
“It should attract not only the serious bidders that know about running refineries, but those that have the money. If you make it private, people can buy the refineries and start stripping the assets. But if you make it open, competitive and international, investors who will come will be people who are serious and have the financial muscle to turn around the refineries.”
The nation has four refineries with a combined capacity to process 445,000 barrels per day but they have been marred by sub-optimal performance over the years due to poor Turnaround Maintenance, among other factors.
The Federal Government has said it planned to privatise the refineries in the first quarter of this year.
The MOMAN secretary also condemned pipeline vandalism, saying it was a major hindrance to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation’s efforts at ensuring efficient supply of petroleum product in the country.
Olawore said, “If there is no vandalism, the NNPC can sufficiently meet the petrol demand of the country. This is because the product that will fill up the pipelines alone is about 500,000 metric tonnes, which is about 500 million litres.
“Meanwhile, we need only about 40 million litres a day. If you divide 500 million litres by 40 million, you probably will get about 12 days’ stocks stored in the pipeline network.”
If not for vandalism, he said the country’s pipeline network could serve as strategic storage if functional.
He further said that a near fuel scarcity was recently averted following the payment of subsidy arrears by the Federal Ministry of Finance.