The Minister of Information, Mr. Labaran Maku, said this in Kaduna during an inspection tour of the Kaduna Refining and Petrochemical Company (KRPC).
Maku said deregulation was the best solution to problems in the sector.
He added that middlemen and other players in the industry had taken advantage of government’s monopoly in the industry to shortchange the country.
Maku cited sale of kerosene as an example: “unless government deregulates this sector, middlemen will continue to feed fat on the sweat of the poor masses.”
He said deregulation would not only open up the market and give Nigerian kerosene consumers options to select from but would address the challenges created by middlemen.
The minister commended the present management of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) for its ingenuity in the management of the nation’s refineries.
The Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mr. Andrew Yakubu, said deregulation would promote efficiency in the oil industry.
He said that the planned partial privatisation of the nation’s refineries was aimed at addressing the perennial problems associated with the management of the companies by government.
Yakubu said privatisation would also enable government to channel resources, previously used for maintenance, to other needs.
The Acting Managing Director of KRPC, Mr. Bafred Anjugu, said the company recorded some milestones in 2013.
He said that the engineers of the KRPC had “re-streamed” the fluid catalytic cracking unit which had been down since 2005.
Anjugu said the company was refining each of the assorted products per month and would attain 90 per cent production capacity by the time the Turn Around Maintenance (TAM) was completed.
The acting managing director said the company would generate about N1trillion per year from the sale of products after TAM and would also attain 330 days of operation per annum.
Anjugu said the company’s production capacity was presently limited by the menace of vandalism of pipeline and other peculiar challenges.
According to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), the team visited the 56 mega watts power plant in the company as well as the drum and tin manufacturing factories at the refinery complex.