The Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) has applauded the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) for supplying one million barrels of crude to Dangote Refinery.
Speaking with newsmen in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital on Friday, IPMAN Chairman in the state, Dr. Joseph Obelle, said one cardinal benefit Nigerians will get from the the new $19 billion refinery is the fact that the era of fuel scarcity in Nigeria will be history.
Obelle, who described the development as ‘commendable and a good news to the general public’ however warned that the privatisation of the Port Harcourt Refinery could lead Dangote Refinery into monopoly.
However, Obelle raised concerns about potential monopoly if the Port Harcourt Refinery remains under state control. He urged for its immediate privatization to ensure fair competition and prevent price hikes.
He said: “I’m yet to see any sector that can stand or beat Dangote in a business competition. Hence I will recommend that the Port Harcourt Refinery proposed to commence same time with the Dangote Refinery should be privatised immediately without further delay.
“NNPC Limited, as it is presently formulated can stand not an intense competition against the Dangote Refinery and by that the $1.5bn spent on the rehabilitation will be futility. Refusal to privatise the Port Harcourt Refinery shall be an indication of orchestrated monopoly for the Dangote Refinery.
“The inflation index of Nigeria is worrisome and further increment to prices of commodities will mean untold hardship upon Nigerians. Therefore, while Dangote Refinery is operating, another private refinery should also be operating the Port Harcourt Refinery inview of forcing down the price for the benefit of the consumers.
“Regarding the December deadline for the commencement of the Port Harcourt Refinery, I can say on good authority that the MD of Port Harcourt Refinery is working seriously in achieving that deadline and Mr President should be commended for releasing all the funds needed for the rehabilitation.
“It is obvious that the plant might likely commence late December this year or early January next year. The progress of the job so far and standard of the job is encouraging.”