There was palpable tension in the House of Representatives Tuesday as the Minority Caucus in the House, led by Mr Ndudi Elumelu issued a statement rejecting government’s approval of $1.5 billion for the rehabilitation of the Port Harcourt Refinery.
The statement described the budget as “outrageous and heavily inflated”.
The minority caucus, after a critical analysis of the cost, expressed the view that the project can be executed with far less than the approved over-bloated amount, adding that “the project is a huge scam and a ploy by unscrupulous elements to siphon public funds and as lawmakers we firmly reject this attempt to use the refineries to further defraud the nation. Consequently, the Caucus is demanding an immediate review of the cost”.
According to the caucus “this over bloated $1.5 billion has again brought to the fore the prevailing unpatriotic proclivity of treasury looting and criminal diversion of public funds through inflated contracts by officials of government for their selfish interest. It is completely unacceptable that the sum of $1.5 billion, belonging to Nigerians, is to be funnelled towards the rehabilitation of a non-profitable project, which has already been slated to be handed over to private hands”.
They are, therefore, demanding an immediate review of the project on a transparent and competitive cost template, while the billions of Naira that would be recovered from the surplus, should be directed to other areas of our national energy need.
The caucus also canvassed for immediate decisive steps towards providing required incentives to private organizations, who have shown interest in establishing refineries in the country.