Ahead of the proposed sale of the nation's oil refineries, the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) has advised the federal government to repair all the four refineries before selling them to private entities.
Speaking with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) at the weekend, Alhaji Sule Magaji, Chairman of IPMAN said: "We in IPMAN are against the plan to sell the refineries but if the federal government will not rescind the decision, the refineries should be made fully functional before being sold".
Magaji also enjoined the government to take concrete measures to further secure all oil pipelines across the country to check rising incidence of vandalism.
According to him, securing the pipelines would motivate potential buyers and other investors to participate in the planned sale. The IPMAN boss also expressed fear that the sale of the refineries would lead to total removal of existing subsidy on some petroleum products.
Meanwhile, the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) has confirmed plans to privatise the four refineries in the country next year. The Bureau’s Head, Public Communications, Mr. Chigbo Anichebe, was quoted by the NAN to have said in Abuja that the refineries’ privatisation was part of the ongoing oil sector’s reforms.
Anichebe said that the privatisation plans were currently at the preliminary stage, where the blueprint of the policy would be decided. “We are working with the NNPC and Ministry of Petroleum Resources on the privatisation of the four refineries.
“We are just in the preliminary discussion with them and very soon, we will make public the work plan for the privatisation processes, including the engagement of advisers to advise us on the transaction.
“Once the work plan is fine-tuned, hopefully by the end of the year or early January next year, the work plan as well as the schedule will be unveiled to all stakeholders, including the media,’’ he said.
Anichebe said the privatisation would be handled in line with the usual strategy of the bureau, which was to sell a certain percentage of shares and reserve a certain percentage for the workers, host communities and Nigerians at large.
He urged Nigerians not to be apprehensive about the refineries’ sale because only capable and visionary investors would be considered in the privatisation process.
Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, had revealed the plan privatisation of the refineries in an interview with Bloomberg TV Africa in London last week.
President Olusegun Obasanjo approved the sale of the refineries during his administration but the late President Umaru Yar’Adua in 2007 reversed the sale of the refineries for lack of transparency in the transaction.