Uncover the details behind President Tinubu’s promise of an operational Port Harcourt Refinery by the end of 2023, as reported by TUC President, Festus Osifo.
The Promise from the Presidential Palace
In a bold move destined to reshape the narrative, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has vowed that operations at the Port Harcourt refinery will recommence by the end of this year, an announcement that sparked national interest.
This was made known by the President of the Trade Union Congress (TUC), Festus Osifo, during a recent appearance on the popular Channels Television programme, Politics Today.
The Meeting that Shaped the Discourse
President Tinubu, in an unprecedented move, hosted Osifo and his Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) counterpart, Joe Ajaero, at the presidential villa in Abuja.
This significant gathering happened amid a nationwide outcry against fuel price hikes, a direct consequence of Tinubu’s stance on the removal of fuel subsidy and his unwavering belief in letting market forces set the price.
Protest Paves the Way for Promises
The nationwide protest, regarded as “largely successful” by Osifo, seems to have created the necessary impact on the administration, spurring the President to address the urgent need for refining capacity enhancement.
The Assurance That Echoes Accountability
“When we put forward the question, ‘When would the refinery start functioning?’ we received a commitment that by year-end, the whole of the Port Harcourt refinery would be operational,” said Osifo.
As the PENGASSAN president as well, Osifo made it clear that the organised labour won’t accept mere lip service from the administration but insists on putting a system in place to ensure the President’s promises are fulfilled.
The Status of Warri and Kaduna Refineries
While Port Harcourt refinery is undergoing complete rehabilitation, the Warri and Kaduna refineries could be a quick fix, says Osifo.
The security situation in the country has delayed work at the Kaduna refinery, but efforts are being put in place to address this.
The Unrest and Demands of the People
Public unrest has been building up against what is perceived as “anti-people” policies of the Tinubu administration.
The unions have demanded a rollback of several policies perceived as anti-poor, including the recent hike in fuel price and public school fees.
The Hurdles and Hopes for the Port Harcourt Refinery
In March 2021, a whopping $1.5 billion was approved for the rehabilitation of the Port Harcourt Refinery.
The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) justified this amount, claiming it was for full rehabilitation rather than turnaround maintenance.
The then Minister of State for Petrol, Timipre Sylva, had previously said that the Port Harcourt Refinery would start operations within 18 months.
However, that deadline wasn’t met, and the refineries have yet to become operational.
With the current assurance from President Tinubu, the country waits in anticipation for the end of 2023.
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1. Who made the announcement about the Port Harcourt refinery?
President Bola Ahmed Tinubu made the announcement that the refinery would become operational by the end of the year.
2. Who are the parties involved in holding the President accountable?
Festus Osifo, the TUC President and the PENGASSAN president, and the organised labour are tasked with ensuring the promises are fulfilled.
3. What are the conditions for the removal of fuel subsidy?
One condition was the discontinuation of importing refined petroleum products and locally refining these products.
4. How much was approved for the rehabilitation of the Port Harcourt Refinery?
The Federal Government approved $1.5 billion for the rehabilitation of the Port Harcourt Refinery in March 2021.
5. Why are the Warri and Kaduna refineries not operational yet?
According to Festus Osifo, the security situation in the country has hampered progress in the Kaduna refinery.