Sell pressure expected to intensify
By Nsikan Ikpe
Underscoring the economic and governance challenges in the country, Nigeria’s drain-pipe state-owned refineries have posted a further disappointing N132.5billion loss outcome in the financial year ended 2018, a report from the controlling Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation has revealed.
The quantum of loss is a 39 per cent rise over the N95.09billion loss position recorded in the corresponding period in 2017.
The report further revealed that the giant share of the loss came from the Port Harcourt Refinery and Petrochemical Complex which failed to produce any product in a whooping seven months. The result: the corporation lost a princely N59.96billion from that complex alone. The companion refineries at Kaduna and Warri also posted equally deplorable losses.
Analysts say that ahead of the coming on stream of the privately established Dangote Refinery in the next few months, the continuing loss positions being sustained by the state run refineries and the huge quantum of subsidies on imported products remain very sticky points. They however say that given the continuing poor performance of the refineries, it is only logical that more voices would be raised in favour of selling off the state-owned refineries in the days and weeks following the release of this very damning performance outcome.
It will be recalled that the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar had himself promised to sell off the ill-functioning state refineries in the 2019 polls campaign season.
An earlier move to sell off the refineries by former President Olusegun Obasanjo was bogged down by conflict of interest, corporate governance and due process issues even as Nigeria’s influential trade union movement took an open ‘No’ position against it.
His successor, President Umaru Yar Adua subsequently cancelled the sale, whose immediate beneficiaries then included the same Alhaji Aliko Dangote that is currently promoting the process of establishing the single biggest private refinery complex on earth in the country.
Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo