House To Probe Sale Of Refineries

BEVERLY HILLS, CA, December 11, (THEWILL) -  The House of Representatives on Wednesday directed its committees on Privatisation, Petroleum Resources (Downstream) and Due Process to investigate the plan by the Federal Government to sell four state-owned refineries. The Petroleum Resources Minister, Mrs. Diezani Allison-Madueke, had revealed that the refineries in Kaduna, Warri and Port Harcourt would be sold to private investors in the first quarter of 2014. And moving a motion Wednesday titled:"Plan to sell Nigerian Refineries'; Hon. Hassan El-Badawy noted that the announcement of the plan to sell the state-owned refineries was made without the knowledge of the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) and the National Council on Privatisation (NCP). The lawmaker also recalled that Allison-Madueke had put the turnaround maintenance (TAM) of the refineries at $1.6 billion (about N251.2 billion) during an interactive session with the Senate Committee on Petroleum Resources (Downstream) on October 8, 2012. He noted that the action of the minister undermines the mandate of the privatisation regulatory agencies. 'There appears to be a clear contradiction between the position of the minister and that of the director general of BPE with regard to the privatisation of refineries as the latter stated that the nation's refineries would be available for privatisation, after the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) has been passed. 'The minister's action seems to be in isolation of what the regulatory authorities, that is NCP and BPE, had resolved on the matter. The minister's action is in conflict with the ongoing legislative action, which seeks to provide a legal framework for the subject matter to provide a clear direction on whatever future action is contemplated by the minister or any regulatory authority,' he pointed out. By Saint Mugaga, Abuja