The Petroleum Technology Association of Nigeria (PETAN) has urged the Federal Government to allow the country’s refineries to be run by private investors for them to work optimally.
Chairman of PETAN, Mr. Bank-Anthony Okoroafor, who gave the advice while interacting with the media in Lagos on Tuesday, said Nigerian government has no business running refineries but to set policy that would drive business activities.
“Refinery business is a business on its own; governments do not run such businesses. It was good at the initial stage for government to kick-start such investments and be able to build capacity. Nigerian government or any government for that matter has no capacity to run refineries,” he said.
The chairman said that it is illegal and criminal for foreign oil companies to get jobs in onshore and swamp when competent indigenous companies are available.
He said that the association is keen to achieving value added local content that gives values to Nigeria and Nigerians.
“There is a Nigerian Content Law which states that onshore, swamp 100 per cent of the jobs should be given to Nigerian companies. So any job that can be done by PETAN company or by a competent Nigerian should not be given to somebody outside the country. It is criminal,” Okoroafor said.
However, where there is a gap in deep offshore jobs, Okoroafor said, PETAN encourages alliance with foreign companies.
He said that where the capacity and capability exists in-country, such jobs should be given to Nigerian companies.
Okoroafor recalled that during the militancy days, foreign expatriates fled the Niger Delta region while indigenous company workers continued with their production without fear of been kidnapped.
“Nobody can develop our country better than we can do. But anywhere that the capability does not exist in-country, anybody can do the job.
“But where the capability exist, it has to be done by a Nigerian company,” the PETAN chairman said.
The PETAN boss said that it is the only way the country can develop, circulate money in-country, and develop the confidence of Nigerian companies.
He said that the mantra of the new association executives is to push for local content that gives jobs to competent Nigerians.
“We will ensure local content that builds capacity in Nigeria, local content that creates jobs in Nigeria. Local content that leaves the dollar spent in Nigeria, local content that has multiple effects on Nigerians. Remember, nobody can tell our stories better than us. If you allow other people to tell our story, they will never see anything good in us,” he added.
“Nigerians have the spirit of enterprise. There is nothing wrong with us. PETAN companies have the capacities and the capability to deliver service to satisfactory standard of safety and quality across the entire value chain from exploration to tank farm,” he stressed.
On the nation’s reserves, Okoroafor said Nigeria must work hard to grow local oil reserves which require carrying out more exploration, developing and production.
“For the past 10 years, we have not grown our reserve. We must grow our reserves; we must grow our local content capacity. It is not patronage, it is value added local content, that is, jobs given to competent Nigerian companies,” he said.