‘Senate halts of refinery sale may deny Nigeria $560m foreign investments ‘
The concession agreement that is to see the Nigerin National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) hand over on the Port Harcourt Refinery to a joint venture partnership between Italian firm, Eni , an indigenous furm, Oando Oil , has halted by the Nigerian Senate .
But analysts fault the law makers’ move as unnecessary means of denying Nigeria an estimated $560millions in both foreign and local investments.
Members of the upper legislation, had on.on Tuesday voted to back a motion brought by Senator Sabo Mohammed., titled: “Non-transparent transaction relating to the planned concession of the Port Harcourt refinery to Agip and Oando by the Ministry of Petroleum Resources,”
The lawmakers later resolved that they would set up an ad-hoc committee to investigate the detail of the concession bid.
This is coming on the heels of announcement by the Minister og State, Petroleum, Ibe Kachikwu, that the four-aged refineries would be turned over to private sector to repair and managed .
He said the plan is part of the country’s protected plans of being self-reliant on production of petroluem products for local consumptions in 2019.
But Eni had reportrely indicated interests for the Port Harcourt complex with Oanfo coming up with an arrangement on how to repair, operate and maintain the refinery for maximum utlisation.
An offcial of the Italian firm, who pleaded for anonymity said ministerial approvsl and the concent of the NNPC had been obtained on the business deal.
He stated given the level of agreement reached , any factor that could delay it from takeboff would send the hand of the clock backward.
The Port Harcourt Refinery ,with production capacity of 445,000 barrels per day (bpd), has been suffering from incessant and yearly shut down on, which helped in subjecting Nigeria to be importing most of its gasoline needed to drive economy.
Eni announced on May 12 2017 that it had concluded talks to work with Oando on joint partnership on the refinery projrct.
But Oando spokesman Ainoije Irune said: “We are willing and available to provide as much clarification on the issue as the Senate requires,”