The Minority Caucus in the House of Representatives on Thursday rejected the proposed $1.5 billion for the rehabilitation of the Port Harcourt refinery.
The Caucus, through a statement by its Leader, Rep. Ndudi Godwin Elumelu, described the figure as “outrageous and heavily inflated”.
The caucus demanded an immediate review of the cost, insisting that critical cost analysis, indicates “a huge scam and a ploy by unscrupulous elements to hide under the guise of rehabilitation of the refinery to siphon public funds” adding that the project can be transparently executed at an amount, far less than the approved over-bloated cost.
The lawmakers noted that whereas the caucus is in support of any genuine effort to bridge the energy deficit in Nigeria, such should not be used as a ploy by corrupt individuals to fleece the nation.
According to the caucus, “this over-bloated $1.5 billion cost 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 interests.
“It is completely unexplainable that the sum of $1.5 billion, belonging to Nigerians, is to be funnelled towards the rehabilitation of a non-profitable refinery, which has already been slated to be handed over to private hands.
“As lawmakers, we firmly reject this attempt to use the refineries to further defraud our nation. In that regard, our caucus demands 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 towards other areas of our national energy need.
“Furthermore the minority caucus calls for immediate decisive steps towards providing required incentives to private organizations who have shown manifest interest in establishing refineries in our country, as a sure step to meet our national energy need”.
The legislators urged the Federal Executive not to release any funds related to the inflated rehabilitation costs until after the review.