The Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers on Monday called for the rehabilitation of the nation’s refineries to end the recurring scarcity of petrol in the country.
The petroleum workers described as “ridiculous that for the past 15 years now, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation had been spending billions of dollars on Turn Around Maintenance of the refineries with nothing to show for it”.
Mr Tayo Aboyeji, the South-West Chairman of the union, who made the call in an interview, said, “It is disheartening to know that despite the fact that the nation is a major producer of crude oil, it cannot refine the product for its local consumption.
“If all our four refineries are producing at their maximum output, the country will not be spending billion of naira on importation of refined product.
“This is the right time for our refineries to work, the Federal Government should as a matter of urgency fix the refineries now,” he said.
The chairman urged the NNPC to increase the supply of petrol to depots in order to reduce the scarcity nationwide.
According to Aboyeji, it is not yet time for total deregulation of the sector. He advised the government to reduce import duty and provide waivers to oil companies to import the product.
On petrol stations selling above the official pump price, Aboyeji urged the Department of Petroleum Resources to investigate properly before sealing such stations.
“To me, it is not all about the pump price; it is about where they are getting the product and how much they are getting it.
“Are these private depots selling above the ex-depot price of N133.28?
“Since DPR started the sealing of petrol stations that are selling above official pump price, we have not seen them asking questions in private depots how much they are selling to marketers.
“Oil marketers are in business to make money; they cannot get petrol at higher price and sell at lower price.
“It is the responsibility of DPR to find out the source of where the marketers are getting the product before sealing the stations,” he said. (NAN)