Tinubu assured that Port Harcourt refinery will commence operations in 2023 – TUC President

The President of the Trade Union Congress (TUC), Festus Osifo, said President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has assured that the Port Harcourt refinery will become operational at the end of this year.

This was made known by Osifo on Wednesday night while making an appearance on a Channels Television programme, Politics Today, after an earlier meeting with President Tinubu at the presidential villa, Abuja.

Osifo and his Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) counterpart, Joe Ajaero, met with Tinubu amid nationwide protests after consecutive fuel price hikes arising from President Bola Tinubu’s insistence on removal of subsidy on the product and allowing market forces determine the price.

The TUC President held that the nationwide protest was “largely successful “and had the impact to spur the President to fix the major refineries across the nation.

The President will be held accountable

  • Osifo said, “When we asked him, even before now, part of the things they have also said was issued around the supply chain.
  • “We told him categorically, ‘Tell us when would the refinery start functioning? What we had from them was that by the end of this year, the refinery – the whole Port Harcourt refinery would come on stream most definitely by the end of the year.’’

Osifo, who also doubles as the PENGASSAN president, stated that organised labour would make sure President Tinubu’s assurances would not just be empty talk but that a structure would be put in place to hold the number one citizen accountable.

  • He said, “Today, they told us that by the end of this year, the whole Port Harcourt refinery will come on stream. With the extra information that we have, we believe it is possible, but we need to keep checking on them to ensure that we actually achieve that feat.”

Situation with Warri, Kaduna refineries

On the state of other refineries, Osifo believes the duo of Warri and Kaduna are an easy fix but that of the latter is hampered by the security situation in the country

  • He said, “The Port Harcourt refinery is a total rehabilitation but the Kaduna and the Warri refinery is a quick fix.
  • “Both refineries, they awarded to do, but at a particular point, they will mobilise to Warri, but Kaduna they refuse to mobilise because of security issues. So, Warri is actually ahead of Kaduna, but as of today, they have not given us a clear timeline on that.’’

What you should know

  • The Organised Labour led by the NLC and TUC had on Wednesday kicked off its protest against the “anti-people” policies of the President Bola Tinubu administration in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, and other states of the Federation including Lagos,Benue, Abia, Plateau, Kaduna, Kano, Rivers, Zamfara, Katsina, Cross River, Ebonyi, Enugu, Kwara, Ogun, Imo, Ondo, and Edo.
  • The unions demanded “the immediate reversal of all anti-poor policies of the federal government including the recent hike in fuel price, increase in public school fees, among others.
  • They had insisted that one of the conditions for the removal of fuel subsidy is the discontinuation of the importation of refined petroleum products and refining of these products locally.
  • The Federal Government had on March 17, 2021, approved $1.5 billion for the rehabilitation of the Port Harcourt Refinery, an amount which many had described as too much for the project.
  • The NNPC while giving the reason the Federal Government is spending the huge sum of $1.5 billion on the 2 refineries in Port Harcourt, said that the funds were approved for the complete rehabilitation and not turnaround maintenance.
  • Recall that 2 years ago, the then Minister of State for Petrol, Timipre Sylva, had said that the Port Harcourt Refinery will commence operations within the next 18 months.
  • Also, Sylva had in January 2023, announced that the commencement of operations at the 60,000 barrels per day Port Harcourt refinery has been shifted from December 2022 to the first quarter of this year, stressing that the facility had been completed.
  • However, this deadline was not met as these refineries have yet to become operational.