Port Harcourt Refinery: Minister Should Provide Update

portharcourt refinery

The Senate’s Downstream Committee announcement regarding the delayed full operations of the three government-owned refineries until January 2025 contrasts sharply with President Bola Tinubu‘s promise of a functioning Port Harcourt refinery by December 2023.

Development Diaries reports that the Vice Chairman of the Committee, Senator Jide Ipinsagba, recently said that the retrofitting of the Kaduna, Warri, and Port Harcourt refineries was already at the completion stage and that all refineries will begin full operations before January 2025.

Recall that in March, the Group Managing Director (GMD) of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) Limited, Mele Kyari, announced that commercial production of refined products at the Port Harcourt refinery would begin two weeks from when he made the announcement.

This was after the company announced ‘a mechanical completion of phase one of the rehabilitation project’, with a promise to ‘get the other plants running in 2024′.

Nigerians will also recall that in January and February 2024, there was no update from the Ministry of Petroleum or the NNPC on the production commencement date.

These updates are required because President Tinubu, in August 2023, promised that the Port Harcourt refinery would resume operations by December 2023.

The president’s promise raised public expectations for a swift improvement in the country’s refining capacity and a reduction in fuel import dependency.

Unfortunately, these conflicting timelines that have been given since December 2023 only speak of a failure of this administration to deliver on promises, as has been observed over and over again.

This discrepancy further widens the trust gap between citizens and the government, because citizens may feel misled by the conflicting timelines. By the way, the Minister of State for Petroleum should be talking to Nigerians about the commencement date of the refineries, not a legislative committee.

Citizens, who have long endured the economic and social impacts of fuel subsidy removal will only view this delay as another instance of government inefficiency and lack of accountability.

The initial promise of a functional refinery by December 2023 offered a glimmer of hope for economic relief. Unfortunately, the extended timeline tends to deepen public frustration and diminish confidence in governance.

Development Diaries urges President Tinubu and the Minister of State Petroleum (Oil), Heineken Lokpobiri, to provide Nigerians with the latest update on the commencement of production at the PortHarcourt refinery to regain public trust through transparent communication.

Photo source: Heineken Lokpobiri


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