By Henry Umoru
ABUJA – MINISTER of State for Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachukwu and the Group Chief Executive of Oando PLC, Mr. Wale Tinubu, Thursday clashed at the Senate Public Hearing over alleged planned concessioning of PortHarcourt Refinery.
Though Wale Tinubu also denied ever making any remark in the media on alleged concession of Port Harcourt refinery to the oil company by the federal government, but the Petroleum Minister accused him of jumping the gun even by his submission that the refinery has been packaged for Oando’s rehabilitation.
The Minister who appeared before the Senator Abubakar Kyari, APC, Borno North Senate Ad -Hoc Committee on the Planned Concession of the Refinery for a one day public hearing, however disowned the Oando boss over statements credited to the former which implied that his company has been granted concession for the Port Harcourt refinery”
With the hearing, strong indications emerged that the concession of the Port Harcourt refinery was still shrouded in confusion as Ibe Kachikwu denied the alleged concession plan, just as he said that a technical committee set up by the government to undertake the review was coming up with a holistic investment figure enough to fix the nation’s refineries, even as the minister vehemently denied making all remarks credited to him on alleged planned concession as reported by some dailies .
The Minister however reiterated that there was no plan to concession, privatise or sell the refinery, for which an estimated $300 million would be required for repairs.
Speaking further on the state of the refinery, Kachikwu who noted that $ 300 million would be required to repair it, said that it was better to engage the company that built the refinery in the first instance for its repairs, due to the availability of spare parts and knowledge of the configuration, adding that the country’s refineries were being run and maintained by Nigerian engineers, and acknowledged that there was the urgent need for constant retraining of the engineers.
After accusation and counter accusation between the Senate and federal agencies handling the nation’s oil refineries on alleged move to concession the Port Harcourt Refinery yesterday, both parties settled for revamping, rehabilitation and maintenance of the refinery along with others through what they termed, sourced financing from private oil firms.
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