Federal Govt approves privatisation of refineries

The Nigerian President, Goodluck Jonathan, has approved the commencement of the privatization of the nation’s four refineries by the Bureau of Public Enterprises.

According to the agency, the four refineries are the Port Harcourt Refining Company Limited i and ii, the Kaduna Refining & Petrochemical Company Limited, and the Warri Refining & Petrochemical Company Limited.

To oversee the process, the President has also approved the constitution of a steering committee chaired by the minister of petroleum resources and has 13 members including the coordinating minister of the economy, minister of power, minister of labour and minister of national planning.

The committee will, among other things, advise the National Council on Privatization on the best way to privatize the refineries and carry out any other ancillary activities relevant to privatization of the refineries.

This development is a direct opposite to the demands of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association (PENGASSAN) and the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas workers (NUPENG) that staged a rally on Tuesday December 17 to protest the planned privatization.

The association announced its resolve to commence an indefinite strike in the first week of January 2014, if the Federal Government fails to rescind its decision to privatise the nation’s refineries.

The unions are protesting what they termed a “hand over of the nation’s refineries to cronies of the Federal Government.” They also alleged that the nature in which business was done in the oil and gas industry was fraught with secrecy.

“You cannot sell something without a model, without Nigerians knowing exactly what you are doing” said the National President of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association (PENGASSAN), Babatunde Oguns.