Former Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Chief Chambers Oyibo, has said price fixing of petroleum products by the federal government was responsible for inadequate refineries and deluge of product imported into the country.
Oyibo said in an exclusive interview with Daily Trust that price fixing should be left for the industry and not the government. “After all, it is not the government that tells us how much to pay for our telecommunication services and phone calls. But where there is competition, those prices would surely come down.”
Oyibo, who spoke on the purported unbundling of the NNPC, said “Besides, the refineries are not working not because of the ineffectiveness of the staff but mostly because of the security situation. The pipelines supplying crude oil to the refineries are always being attacked. So, even if these refineries are privatised, and vandalisation of the pipelines continues, these refineries cannot operate well.
“So, either we are able to police the pipelines more effectively or we go the expensive way of redoing all those pipelines and bury them deep, production would continue to be interrupted. If NNPC is to be an integrated oil and gas company, it should own the refineries but run them effectively and government should now take care of all the security issues,’’ he added.
He faulted the manner the federal government announced the unbundling without requisite consultations with stakeholders in the nation’s oil and gas industry.
He said:’’Government is not bound to consult people like us. However, we are all stakeholders in the NNPC and those of us who have spent all our lives in the oil industry, which in my own case, 50 years, we would like to still contribute because we will like the country to have an effective structure for the NNPC. No single human being is all-knowing. So others also want to contribute’’.
He said labour unions were right to have contested the manner the unbundling was announced, adding that they were the operators of the company and the progress of the company should be in their own interest. (See full interview in tomorrow’s edition)