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April 22, 2024
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Mr Benneth Korie, National President, Natural Oil and Gas Suppliers Association of Nigeria (NOGASA)

Declare state of emergency on refineries, NOGASA urges FG

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By Emmanuella Anokam

The Natural Oil and Gas Suppliers Association of Nigeria (NOGASA) has called on President Bola Tinubu to declare a state of emergency on the country’s refineries, if the economy must be stabilised.

President of NOGASA, Chief Benneth Korie, made the call on Tuesday at a news conference in Abuja, while assessing current developments in the oil and gas sector.

Though the Federal Government had spent about $3 billion in the rehabilitation of the Port Harcourt, Warri and Kaduna refineries, but Korie said that declaring a state of emergency on the nation’s refineries and making them work, would help to retool the economy.

“It is very important that the Nigerian government declares a state of emergency on our refineries. It will help in stabilising distribution price, not just halting importation,” he said.

According to Korie, the Tinubu administration should do whatever is possible to ensure the refineries work and also stabilise the naira against the dollar.

This, he said, was part of the reasons the refineries were yet to work.

“Whatever it will take for the refineries to work, let them work.

“So, the answer to all these increments is for our refineries to start working optimally, and the products should be sold in naira to marketers.

“The reason our refineries are not coming on stream after rehabilitation is the exchange rate.

“They said the Port Harcourt refinery will start working soon. I think that is the reason it has not started refining products.

“Price of the dollar is hampering a lot of things because nobody knows how much to buy and how much to sell.

“They are all waiting for the naira to stabilise against the dollar,” Korie said.

The NOGASA president also called for the reintroduction of bridging claim payment to marketers since the subsidy removal was not yielding any positive result.

He wondered why the government’s projection in the 2024 budget would be N750 to a dollar, while the black market price had moved close to N2,000.

“The dollar might go beyond control if they fail to peg it at the N750 budget estimate.

“We supported the removal of the fuel subsidy but the system is not working well for Nigerians to benefit from it.”

He urged NIMASA and the Nigerian Ports Authority, to henceforth stop demanding payment of services rendered to Nigerians, in dollars.

He said NOGASA members would soon go out of business if things continued the way they were.

“We will all go to jail because of the loans we took from banks with high interest rates of over 30 per cent.

“Move round the country and you will see fuel stations closing shop and being put up for sale; who will buy them? So, the government should look into it before it gets out of control.

“Depot owners are struggling to get money from the banks. Everybody is struggling. Before now, we spent about N1 billion to import a cargo of product, but now, it takes about N15 billion.

“By March 1, we will all run out of business because our members can’t cover their expenses, not to talk about interest; it is a suicide mission,” Korie said.

He urged the government to clear the backlog of unpaid bridging claims still owed oil marketers. (NAN) (www.nannews.ng)

Edited by Salif Atojoko

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