The Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) have said that If Nigeria is to see an end to the lingering fuel crisis, one of the things the Federal Government must prioritise is the fixing of the four petroleum refineries in the country.
NUPENG also urged government to ensure the protection of pipelines while curbing illegal bunkering.
National President of the NUPENG, Igwe Achese, made this known in a television interview monitored by Nairametrics on Monday.
Achese added that Nigeria would continue to experience scarcity of fuel because the distribution and marketing of the products have been mortgaged in the hands of few individuals.
He said: “I have said clearly over some months that the scarcity we are experiencing today will continue because we have mortgaged the petroleum product distribution marketing system into private homes, individuals in the name of privatization.
What we need to do is one; put our refineries in other. And I ask myself how much that will cost us to carry out complete turnaround maintenance. Turnaround maintenance is between three to four months and you are aware that this turnaround maintenance has been an issue for the past 15 years. And every year we keep hearing we have spent so billion in turnaround maintenance and yet we are no there.
Two is to make sure that our pipelines are also been protected, very well secured and to make sure that petroleum products or crude oil are being haulage through these pipelines to the refineries.
And then we need to tackle illegal bunkering. Government should sit up in fighting illegal bunkering. I ask myself, ‘the vessels that are being used to carry or lift up this crude oil are they being charms that cannot be seen by the eyes? These are big vessels that are visible and can be seen.”
Achese further said that the Obasanjo administration introduced petroleum subsidy in 2006 as a measure to carry out turnaround maintenance on the refineries.
He added that Nigeria now depended completely on the importation of petroleum products.
Achese said: “Who introduced petroleum subsidy into the system and for what purposes? You and I know very well when subsidy was being introduced in 2006 he clearly stated the terms of why subsidy was being introduced. He said look let us see a turnaround of the refineries and for us to do a turnaround of the refineries let us a lot importation of fuel to come into this country as a stop gap measure not as a dependent processes.
Today it is a process we are depending on now. It was a stop gap measure and that stop gap measure today is no more a stop gap measure. We are now depending on importation of petroleum product completely. If you look at the current situation we are today, we are yet to be told the exact amount of money being paid as subsidy. Because there is subsidy in demurrage, we have subsidy in de- haulage.”