President, Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN), Ndukaku Ohaeri, has advocated the need for the ownership structure of the refineries, saying the development is the best way to add value to the economy.
Specifically, he advocated the need to align the ownership change of the assets as in the Nigeria Liqufied Natural Gas (NLNG), in which government and private investors have shares.
Ohaeri spoke in Lagos where he cited the change of fate of then Eleme Petrochemical, which is making profit and also contributing to the development of Nigeria.
“So, the refineries that we have today, in Port Harcourt, Warri, Kaduna, I think that government should start to think about change in the ownership structure, bring in people who understand this business very well, not the portfolio or the briefcase investors. Bring in experts, those who are reputable in refinery business. If there are issues, let’s sit down and talk about them.
“Engage the stakeholders and let’s see what and what are the issues, including labour, these are the people working in the industry. That way, these refineries, we can turn them around profitably. We will employ more people, because it’s not just only producing diesel and petroleum. There are other derivatives that we can get out of these refineries.
“People have said there have not been queues at fuel stations, but at what cost? We are spending a lot to ensure that there is constant supply. Is it what a nation like Nigeria will continue to do? A country that God has given resources out of the earth.
We sell crude and we import refined ones. Common sense shows that when one adds value to a product, you earn more. That is why, today, what’s the exchange rate N360 in average. If we are to refine our products, even if it’s 60 per cent, it will cut down the cost of forex on imports of the products.”