Reps Ask FG To Stop Sale Of Refineries

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The House of Representatives Committee on Privatisation has asked the Federal government to stop the proposed privatisation of the nation’s three refineries with immediate effect.

Slated for sale by the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) are the Port-Harcourt, Kaduna and Warri refineries.

The decision of the lawmakers followed the disclosure by the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) that it was not aware of the proposed sale.

The lawmakers said the proposed sale failed to follow due process with NNPC acting without the involvement of other stakeholders as contained in the BPE Act.

The House said NNPC action violated Section 11 of the BPE Act, 2009.

The directive was handed down Wednesday during an interactive session between House Committee on Privatisation, NNPC and BPE on the subject matter.

In his presentation, NNPC’s Group Executive Director (Refineries), Anibor Kragba, who represented the Minister of State (Petroleum Resources) and NNPC’s Group Managing Director (GMD), Ibe Kachikwu, had told the Committee that the exercise was not privatisation.

According to him, rehabilitation of the refineries is capital intensive which was responsible for sourcing for core investors that can undertake the project and revive the refineries.

However trouble began when the GED was asked about who authorized the exercise under whatever name without the input of the National Assembly.

At this juncture, Kragba responded that he would need to clarify from his superiors, since he was barely a month in office having been appointed a couple of weeks ago.

When asked if BPE was involved in the process, its acting Director General (DG), Vincent Akpotarie denied the knowledge and participation of his agency in the proposed sale.

Kragba’s response to seek clarification from higher office however drew the ire of the Committee that called his competence to question.

The Committee regretted that it was the action of NNPC that the whole country is suffering, while noting that there was no reason for the continuation of the session since the GED is incapable of giving authoritative answers to questions thrown at him.

The Committee also wondered whether there was handover notes that the GED could refer to in response to the queries of the Committee since assumption of office.

The Committee expressed disappointment that it deferred to accept the representation of Kragba on the basis that he claimed to have the mandate of the corporation to make pronouncements on its behalf but failed to live up to the expectation of the Committee.

On being told that he was incompetent to handle the matter at hand, Kragba responded saying, “With due respect to this Honourable Committee, I was appointed into the office by Mr President who believed my competency”.

The Committee would have none of that from the GED for using such a language on the House.

Before aborting the hearing due to the shouting bout, the Committee ruled that the NNPC should stop the exercise with immediately for gross violation of the BPE Act.

Chairman of the Committee, Ahmed Yerima warned Kragba to be mindful of his choice of words before the parliament, “I am sure if Mr President reads this BPE Act, he will not be happy with what you are doing.

“We are preaching change, change in our ways of doing things for the betterment of the Country and yet we the leaders are doing things ,the other way round, impunity is still rampant, am a member of the All Progressive Congress and we promised the people real change before they gave us their votes,” he stated.

The hearing was abruptly adjourned with a caveat that the Petroleum Resources Minister, Kachikwu must appear before the Committee.



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