The Federal Government on Thursday denied claims by the Oando Nigeria PLC that a concession deal had been reached with the company.
Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, at an investigative hearing conducted by the Senate Ad Hoc Committee on Planned Concession of Port Harcourt Refinery, stated that the government had no plan to concession or privatise the oil facility.
Kachikwu particularly said the Group Chief Executive of Oando PLC, Mr. Wale Tinubu, was “jumping the gun” over an advertorial in which the latter implied that his company had been granted concession for the refinery.
Senate probe into the matter was based on newspaper reports which quoted Tinubu as allegedly saying that Oando had secured approval for the concession of the refinery.
In the report, Tinubu, while speaking at the Nigerian Stock Exchange in Lagos on May 11, 2017, allegedly disclosed that his company had entered into an MoU with the Federal Government to manage the refinery under a repair, operate and maintain arrangement.
“We also got approval from the President to repair, operate and maintain the Port Harcourt refinery together with our partner, Agip. We plan to increase the refinery’s capacity from 30 per cent to 100 per cent, subsequently to 120 per cent,” he was quoted as saying.
Tinubu had allegedly also said the details of the arrangement were being fine tuned and would be concluded by the end of July 2017.
At the hearing on Thursday, Tinubu however told the Senate panel that Oando had denied the “misconception” in the media reports in an advertorial.
He said his statement on the rehabilitation of the refinery was taken out of context.
He denied that the company had reached a deal with the government to take over the facility.
He added, “I think parties in the industry must be allowed to engage the regulators to discuss solutions and possibilities and they must be negotiated and crafted into something worthy of being taken to the regulators, to consider whether or not it will lead to concession or transactions worthy of regulators’ approval,” he said.
“The truth of the matter is that we do need to be allowed as professionals to carve out our position before we can present it. Along the line, as corporates, we do meet with our regulators and many times expressions of interests have been submitted regarding how the refineries can be revamped. We call it memorandum of understanding.”