PDP Berates NNPC over Plans to Acquire 20% Stake in Dangote Refinery

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By Ikenna Omeje

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has berated the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) over its plans to acquire 20 percent stake in the 650,000 barrels per day Dangote refinery, currently under construction in Lekki, Lagos State.

The NNPC’s Chief Operating Officer, Refining and Petrochemicals, Mustapha Yakubu, had made the disclosure while speaking at the recently concluded Nigeria Oil and Gas Opportunity Fair (NOGOF), 2021, with the theme: “Leveraging Opportunities and Synergies for Post Pandemic Recovery of the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry.”

Yakubu had said: “We have what we call the Greenfield refinery and the Greenfield Refining Projects Division (GRPD) of the NNPC. What we do, our strategy is to collaborate and seek strategic partnerships with private investors.

“At the moment, we have Dangote Refinery, which is the 650,000 barrels per day capacity, plus a mini 80,000 tonnes per annum petrochemical plant.

“What are we doing there? I can tell you today that we are seeking to have a 20 per cent minority stake in Dangote Refinery as part of our collaboration and you know that there’s a huge quantity of crude for that refinery.

“That’s 650,000 barrels, going into a single crude distillation unit (CDU). When that comes on board, it will also wet the nation for us.”

Subsequently, the NNPC’s Group General Manager Group Public Affairs Division, Dr. Kennie Obateru, in a statement noted that the move was in line with Federal Government’s policy.

According to him, the move was in line “with a Federal Government policy directive which stipulates the mandatory participation of the Corporation in any privately-owned refinery that exceeds 50,000 barrels per day capacity in keeping with its statutory role of safeguarding national energy security”.

However, the PDP in a statement issued by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbodiyan on Monday, alleged that the planned acquisition of 20 percent stake in Dangote refinery is a fraudulent move to divert over N1.7 trillion ($3.9 billion) to personal purses.

The Party further stated that while it is not against honest incentives for  private refineries, such money should be used to refurbish the country’s refineries

The PDP also urged the Dangote Group to be wary of the deal and called on the National Assembly to commence a holistic investigation into the deal to save the country.

“The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is alarmed by alleged plans by fraudulent officials in the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led administration to divert over N1.7 trillion, ($3.9 billion) to their personal purses, under the guise of acquiring 20% shares in the $19. 5 billion refinery being built by Dangote Group.

“Our party is worried over the opaque and nebulous deal being pushed by fraudulent officials of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), which not only allows corrupt persons in the government to divert the funds, but also entangles and smears the unsuspecting firm with corruption

“While the PDP has nothing against any genuine and honest incentives for private refineries or any moves to divest our economic interest in the private sector, the party insists that such must not be used as a ruse to siphon funds from the national treasury.

“Moreover, is it not an absurdity for a government, which cannot fix our refineries, to be planning to spend such huge amount of money in a venture that it would be a minority stakeholder, if not in the pursuit of sleazy deals by corrupt officials?

“This is more so as the payment arrangement involving crude barter has remained hazy, underhanded and lacking in the required transparency in evaluation, cost, and exchange terms.

“Our party therefore demands that the Federal Government immediately halt this nebulous process. The transaction must be made completely open, in terms of conditions for crude barter, signatories, duration, equity sharing and signatories, among other conditions.

“The PDP also urges the Dangote Group and other concerned investing firms to be wary of going into any kind of deals with corrupt officials of the APC administration.

“Our party charges the National Assembly to protect the nation by summoning the management of the NNPC and immediately commence a holistic investigation into this deal,” the statement read partly.

Petroleum products from the Dangote refinery is expected to hit the market by early 2022, according to the Executive Director of Capital Projects and Portfolio Management at Dangote Group, Devakumar Edwin.

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