By; IYOKPO J. EGBODO, Abuja
THE Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has disclosed that the country has in the last five years, expended a total of $119.409 billion on commodity importation, out of which $36.371 billion was petroleum products alone.
Making this known before the House of Representatives Ad hoc committee investigating the status of Nigeria’s four refineries on Monday, Central Bank’s Director in Charge of Research, Ganiyu Amao said “data from the CBN shows that from 2013 to 2017, a total of foreign exchange committed to imports in the country stood at $119.409 billion, while the total foreign exchange committed to imports in the oil sector stood at $36.371billion, representing 13.5 percent of all imports made by the country”.
The House committee has however given the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), 24 hours to provide relevant details on installed capacity of the refineries, volume of crude supply and resultant outputs, as well as all information on the TAM of the refineries.
Amao told the committee that excessive outflow of foreign exchange for importation is negatively affecting the naira. “It greatly exerts serious pressure on our external reserve, and depreciates the value of our local currency”, he stated, adding that the CBN is support of any policy that compels the International Oil companies (IOCs) to refine not less than half of the crude that they produce, for domestic consumption.
The committee earlier berated the NNPC for its failure to provide the needed documents for it. Chairman of the panel, Hon. Garba Datti said there have been attempts by some stakeholders to frustrate the investigation. “Only a few organisations and individuals have complied with the committee’s request for documents and memoranda as many are bent on frustrating the investigation to this regard. The committee derives it’s authority to conduct this probe from the resolution referred to it in line with the provisions of the constitution”, he noted.
Declaring the event open earlier, Speaker of the House, Hon. Yakubu Dogara who explained that the investigation became necessary due the need to ensure due process in government business.
He also recalled that the committee was given the mandate to ascertain the viability of continuing investment of public funds on the nation’s refineries, and allocation of 445,000 bpd of crude utilization for the same purpose, and to determine the current utilization level of Warri, Kaduna and Port Harcourt refineries.
He said it is also expected to “carry out a comprehensive investigation on the turnaround maintenance (TAM) carried out to date on the refineries, and identify the private and corporate individuals that have refused to utilize the license (regular and Modular), the readiness and status of all current holders”, and report back within three months, for the House to take further legislative action.
By; IYOKPO J. EGBODO, Abuja