The Chairman, Senate Committee on Aviation, Senator Smart Adeyemi, has urged the federal government to spend the current gains made from crude oil sales at the international market, which is above $100 per barrel, to fix the nation’s comatose oil refineries or build new ones.
The nation’s 2022 budget was predicated on a benchmark of $62 per barrel of crude oil.
Adeyemi said: “Proceeds from the oil windfall arising from the ongoing Russia/Ukraine war should be channeled into fixing the nation’s comatose refineries or to outright building of new ones.”
Adeyemi stated this on Thursday in Abuja while addressing journalists on the public hearing on his rent bill slated for March 30.
The senator said: “To me, it is inexplicable and shameful for a nation that is producing crude oil in large volumes on daily basis to be importing refined ones.
“It is like somebody who has a functional borehole in his or her compound, and yet buying water from other sources.
“Serious bleeding the shameful arrangement is causing the nation’s economy must be stopped.
“Refineries must be made functional or new ones put in place to prevent huge capital flight bleeding the nation’s economy from refined oil importation.”
Adeyemi lamented the federal government’s inability to fast-track the completion of the Ajaokuta Iron and Steel Project, which he described as a catalyst for full industrialisation of the nation’s economy.
He noted with concern that the abandoned Ajaokuta Steel Complex had the potential of providing gainful employment to over 50,000 Nigerians if resuscitated.
He said: “It Is saddening that a potential game changer for the nation’s monolithic economy which started in 1980s, is still at the stage of abandonment .
“If the federal government is not ready to see to its completion and functionality, it should be handed over to Kogi State, which I believe will do the needful, the way the Kaduna State Government built an iron ore firm recently with potential for thousands of jobs creation for the youth and quantum wealth generation for the state .
“The President Muhammadu Buhari-led government is no doubt, trying, as far as building of infrastructure are concerned but such legacies without completion of Ajaokuta and provision of functional refineries will not make much impact economically.”