Buhari's Govt Still Paying Refinery Workers Despite Producing Nothing -Afenifere

1 month ago

Pan-Yoruba socio-political organisation, Afenifere, on Monday said Nigerian economy is in a state of emergency, lamenting that only the Federal Government does not know the situation the country is in.

It also lamented that the Federal Government under President Muhammadu Buhari’s leadership is still paying workers in Nigeria’s moribund refineries full salaries and other emoluments despite the fact that they are contributing nothing to the nation’s economy.

Basorun Segun Sanni, Afenifere’s Chief Economist in an interview on Channels Television which was monitored by Daily Independent, said the government has been incurring huge costs to keep the workers operating at the Kaduna, Port Harcourt, and Warri refineries and sending them abroad for trainings while fuel is being imported and the refineries produce nothing.

According to him, it is a waste of scarce resources and unsustainable at a time government is in dire need of money to fund its budget and the economy is in a state of emergency.

The Nigerian economy right now is in a state of emergency. If it was a human being, it should actually be in ICU right now. Everyone is screaming and making strident warnings to the Federal Government that the economy is in a state of shock right now but it seems it is only the Federal Government that does not know the situation we are in".

“We heard recently that the governors came together and sent a whole raft of recommendations to the Federal Government on what needs to be done. In my thinking, they are just chasing shadows and are not really addressing the substance of what is wrong with the economy”.


Speaking further, Sanni said it has never happened in the history of the country before that despite the rise in the price of crude oil in the international market, Nigeria’s economy is in a deep hole under the Buhari administration. “
The Nigerian economy has a problem on two major sides.

"One on the side of revenue, the other on the side of expenditure. First and foremost, the oil market is at an all-time high. Oil is selling at about $100 bpd today but unprecedented in Nigeria’s history where the oil market will be sky high and the Nigerian economy will be in a hole. It has never happened in history. It is a big paradox
".

Overtime, we have always seen a pattern where the Nigerian economy cycles around the performance of the oil market. They said stealing of oil is responsible for that. Nigeria has an OPEC quota of 1.8 million barrels per day but maybe less than 1 million is what Nigeria is seeing. The revenue of Nigeria is hardly enough to power an economy of over 200 million people. But now, we have found ourselves in a situation where the revenue is being stolen".

“This is an existential problem and situation that the government of the day should be raising an alarm, where everybody should actually be around the table trying to find out what is going on and who is behind this but the government is keeping on as if all is well.

“Nigeria currently spends about 25 percent of all its total income on petroleum imports— kerosene, petrol, diesel. At the end of the day, we are spending so much money and wasting so much forex importing these things".


Nigeria is spending so much money again paying the full complement of staff in the refineries that do not produce. They have a full complement of staff going on study leave abroad, attending conferences with huge emoluments despite the fact that we are importing petrol.
On top of that, Nigeria is hemorrhaging, spending huge billions of dollars on maintaining refineries that will not work".


Recently, despite strident warnings by analysts, economists and even from the international community, the Federal Government released $1.5 billion to maintain the Port Harcourt refinery. When will that refinery produce?

On the way forward, the Afenifere chieftain said the Federal Government must block leakages, put an end to crude oil theft and cut down on wasteful spending.

According to him, the $1.5 billion recently released by the Federal Government for the maintenance of the Port Harcourt refinery which is a fruitless venture is 10 times the money allocated to the health as well as the education sector.

“On the revenue side, the government needs to help us find our money from the crude oil theft. Tell us who is stealing our money? How do you intend to stop them? On the expenditure side, we need to cut down on wasteful spending. The $1.5bn released for the maintenance of the Port Harcourt refinery is more than 10 times the budgetary allocation to the health sector.

“The $1.5bn released for the maintenance of the Port Harcourt refinery is about 10 times the budgetary allocation to the health sector.The refineries will not work. It is not the first time that the government has released huge monies for the maintenance of the refineries and yet nothing to show for it”
, he said.

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