A former vice president of Nigeria, Atiku Abubakar, has questioned the $1.5 billion (over N500bn) pegged for the rehabilitation of the Port Harcourt refinery, demanding that it should be sold off.
In a statement on Thursday, he said Shell Petroleum Development Company, last year, sold its Martinez Refinery in California, USA, similar size to the Port Harcourt refinery for $1.2bn, which is more profitable than the Port Harcourt refinery.
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Atiku said: “Given this discrepancy, might we ask if there was a public tender before this cost was announced? Was due diligence performed? Because we are certainly not getting value for money.”
Atiku said the refineries have been making losses for multiple years, and indeed, it is questionable wisdom to throw good money after such venture.
“At other times, I have counselled that the best course of action would be to privatise our refineries, so they can be run more effectively and efficiently,” he added.
The former vice president also said unemployment has reached an all-time high of 33 per cent, while inflation has hit another record high of 17%, with the national debt stock growing from N12 trillion in 2015 to N32.9tr.
“To therefore budget the sum of $1.5 billion to renovate or turn around the Port Harcourt Refinery would appear to be an unwise use of scarce funds at this critical juncture for a multiplicity of reasons,” he stressed.