By Adewale Sanyaolu
A former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Prof Tam David-West, has denied newspaper reports, Daily Sun not included, that Buhari will crash the price of petrol to N40 per litre.
The Professor of Virology who spoke to Daily Sun in a telephone interview at the weekend, said at no time did he ever made such comment, regretting that he must have been misquoted.
Rather, he said, he only canvassed that some 14 items currently listed in the petrol pricing template be removed as that would help crash petrol price to N40.
David-West said some of the 14 items included, Petroleum Equalization Fund (PEF) charges, transporters margin, lithering expenses among other charges, currently contained in the pricing template tend to increase the cost of petrol.
The former Minister said it was shameful that Nigeria is still involved in importation of petroleum products despite having four refineries capable of meeting the energy needs of the country.
He equally took a swipe at those pushing for sustenance of subsidy regime, saying the scheme was a fraud that should not be encouraged by all Nigerians.
‘‘I signed the contract for the refinery in Port Harcourt in 1985. And I can tell you that there is nothing wrong with our refineries. But the issue is just that some people bent on sabotaging the efforts of government are frustrating plans to ensure that the refineries produce at optimal capacity. David-West equally berated proponents of the co-locating of refineries, arguing that such idea was a waste of resources.
‘‘How can you co-locate refineries within the existing refineries that NNPC has tagged as scraps? For you to co-locate refineries that means the refineries still have value and can be efficient,’’ he said.
Recall that NNPC had recently said that it was targeting to increase the nation’s refining capacity from 445,000 barrels per day(bpd) to 650,000 (bpd)
The Corporation said the move was aimed at reducing fuel importation in the foreseeable future, adding that nine companies have submitted bids for the co-location of new refineries within the complexes of its three existing refineries in Kaduna, Warri and Port Harcourt.
‘‘A technical evaluation committee has been set up to study the bids and announce winners as soon as possible,’’the Chief Operating Officer (COO) of refineries,NNPC,Mr. Anibo Kragha had said.
Kragha, said the Corporation was committed to boosting the nation’s refining capacity which in turn would end the perennial fuel shortages in the country. “The aim is to leverage on the existing facilities to fast track the take off of the refineries as soon as possible.”