The regime of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), will not be able to complete the repairs of the comatose refineries and will be expecting the next government to continue with it.
The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, said this on Tuesday on NTA’s Good Morning Nigeria programme which was monitored by The PUNCH.
But in its reaction, the Trade Union Congress restated its warning to the Federal Government not to remove fuel subsidy until the commencement of the local refining of crude oil.
On its part, the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria warned that without repairing refineries, fuel price hike was imminent.
Earlier on the NTA, the minister said he was hopeful that the Buhari regime would be able to complete 60 per cent of the repair of the two Port Harcourt refineries before leaving office while the ones at Warri and Kaduna would take much longer.
Sylva said, “We agreed from the very beginning that the completion date will overflow into the next administration but we agreed that there are milestones. We expect that by the end of this year, in Port Harcourt, we expect to achieve at least 60 per cent of the capacity production from Port Harcourt.
“We are hoping that by the end of next year, the rehabilitation will have been completed. Of course, Warri and Kaduna started after Port Harcourt refineries and of course, it is going to progress at a slower pace.
“But I believe that at the end of the year, all the refineries – Port Harcourt, Warri and Kaduna – will be operating at a certain capacity. I cannot tell you what capacity it will be operating by the time we leave but they will all be at least partially functional and we expect that since governance is a continuum, the next government will take up from wherever we stop and get it to the finishing line.”
The minister maintained that subsidy removal was the best way to attract investments into the oil sector and fight petrol theft but said Buhari wanted to protect Nigerians who were already suffering.