Why We Are Not Fixing Refineries – Osinbajo
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo was a guest at local radio station, 95.1 Wazobia FM Lagos on Tuesday, November 13th.
He spoke on some programmes of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration, which includes the investment of 250 billion naira on the national social investment programme, NSIP; the Apapa traffic, and so on.
As part of the NSIP discussion, Osinbajo revealed that TraderMoni, which targets petty traders, is expected to have reached 2 million traders before the end of 2018. At the moment, he said about 1.4 million people have been reached already.
He then explained that the 250 billion naira earmarked for the social intervention programme has been budgeted for NSIP is in two budget cycles.
But when asked why the government is spending such a huge sum on the NSIP when it should invest it in fixing the moribund refineries, Osinbajo said the money wouldn’t have made a dent if it had been deployed in fixing the refinery.
More so, he said the government has decided to not get involved in the business of running the refineries.
He said: “The thing with refinery is that if you look at a 100 million dollars, about 36 billion naira, if you look at what it takes to fix all the refineries, it takes much more to fix all the four refineries.
“So what we have decided to do is that we cannot as a government be running refineries, that was the mistake we made in the past.
“What we have learnt over time is that when government tries to run a business, it doesn’t do a good job of it. Government is government. Its job should be to create the enabling environment for private people to run the business.
“That is why, the way we are trying to run the refineries now is that we have invited several oil companies. So, Eni and Shell are in one consortium trying to fix one refinery. There are other consortiums that are doing other refineries.”
He added: “We do not want any situation where it is the government that is running the refinery business. Its like asking the government to build petrol stations, all kinds of things will be happening, government officials will be coming to ask for free petrol. So, we don’t want government to do business at all.”
Speaking further, Osinbajo said the government decided to invest in the NSIP because it is the best way to reduce poverty.
“You have heard it said that there are many poor people in Nigeria. In fact, in 2012, the last poverty report which was presented by NBS said there are 112 million extremely poor people in Nigeria.
“So, if you don’t support the poor people in your community, by giving them the resources to do business and instead use the money to fix refineries, people will die. So you must make sure that people that are suffering get some help first,” he said.
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