CBN buildingThe Central Bank of Nigeria on Thursday confirmed plans by the Federal Government to privatise its four refineries next year.

According to the bank, the plan is in line with the government’s drive to transform the nation’s economy rapidly in the next five years.

The Deputy Governor, Financial Systems Stability, CBN, Dr. Kingsley Moghalu, said the economy would receive a massive boost when the transformation in power, agricultural and oil and gas sectors were completed.

He spoke at a meeting with heads of Deposit Money Banks organised by the Ministry of Agriculture on Thursday in Abuja.

Moghalu said, “The economic transformation of this country is gradually becoming a reality. I have said that I see a very different Nigeria in five years with the way we are going and with the transformations that are taking place in several aspects of the economy.

“Agriculture is one; power sector is another; and the move to get private investors to take over refineries makes me believe that we are going to reposition Nigeria’s economy to be one that is actually based on real production.”

The Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, had earlier this week hinted that the Federal Government planned to begin the privatisation of four of the state-owned oil refineries before the end of the first quarter of next year.

In an interview with Bloomberg TV Africa in London, Allison-Madueke had said, “We would like to see major infrastructure entities such as refineries, moving out of government hands into the private sector.

“Government does not want to be in the business of running major infrastructure entities and we haven’t done a very good job at it over the years.”

Last year, an audit led by a former Minister of Finance, Idika Kalu, recommended the sale of the refineries due to inadequate government funding and poor performance.

The refineries have a combined capacity of 445,000 barrels per day and it was recommended that the facilities should be privatised within 18 months. This was contained in the report submitted to President Goodluck Jonathan in November 2012.