Mr Segun Sanni, the Chief Economist of Afenifere, the pan Yoruba socio-political organisation, said the $1.5 billion being spent on the Port Harcourt refineries by the federal government will be a waste of funds.
The Federal Executive Council (FEC) approved $1.5bn (about N600 billion) for the rehabilitation of the Port Harcourt refineries in March 2021.
But Sanni, while speaking on Channels Television on Monday, argued that no matter how much is spent to revitalize the ailing refineries, they would not work.
“It is senseless,” he said about the ongoing move to revive the refineries.
“Nigeria is spending huge billions of US dollars maintaining refineries that will not work.
“Recently, despite warnings by analysts, economists, even from the international circle, the federal government released $1.5bn to maintain a refinery that will not work.”
While reacting to the dwindling economic fortunes of the country, the economist expressed dismay that Nigeria is moving towards collapse and the government don’t seem to be concerned.
He said Nigeria should be experiencing an economic boom following the increase in the price of crude oil in the international market.
Sanni, however, said the reverse is the case in Nigeria, lamenting that the government was finding it difficult to meet up with the quota allocated to the country by OPEC.
“Nigeria’s economy right now is in a state of emergency. If it was a human being, it should actually be in the ICU right now.
“Everyone is screaming and dishing out warnings to the federal government that the economy is in a state of shock right now but it seems as if it is only the federal government that does not know about the situation we are in,” Sanni said.
He said the state governors’ advice to the government is not the solution, positing that they were only chasing shadows.
“The Nigerian economy has a very big problem on two sides, on the side of revenue and on the side of expenditure.
“The oil market is at an all-time high, oil is selling at about $100 per barrel today but unprecedented in Nigerian history where the oil market will be sky high and Nigerian economy will be in the hole. It never happened.
“They said there is stealing of oil. So, Nigeria has an OPEC quota of 1.8 million barrels per day but maybe less than one million is what Nigeria is seeing.
“The revenue stream on Nigeria is hardly enough to power an economy of 200 million people but now we have found ourselves in a situation where the revenue is being stolen.
“This is an existential problem that the government of the day should be raising an alarm…but the government is keeping on as if all is well,” the economist said.
He said for the country to recover, efforts should be made to revitalize the energy sector and stop the massive stealing of crude oil in the Niger Delta.