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I lost 6kg when we tried to remove fuel subsidy in 2016, says Kachikwu

Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu, the minister of state for petroleum, says he lost about six kilogrammes in weight when they tried to remove subsidy on petroleum products in 2016.

Speaking on Hard Copy, a programme on Channels TV, the junior minister said there is a lot to deal with when subsidy removal is to be carried out.

“If you want to take away subsidy, you have to deal with the unions and Nigerians. Everybody is saying take away subsidy and you will have a solution. When I did it in 2016, I think I must have lost between 10 and 15 pounds,” he said.

Expressing regrets at the current state of the nation’s refineries, Kachikwu said the refineries almost need to be shut down.

“If there is one area where I feel sad, its the refineries because there is a huge gulf between my pronouncements and where I’d like it to be and what we’ve been able to achieve.

“The reality today is that we are still below 15% of utilisation of those refineries because they need to maintained, reworked, they almost need to be shut down and completely refurbished.

“Neglect of over a decade is forcing us to say are these scraps or how much will it cost to fix them.

“The 2019 plan is off, there is absolutely no way given that no contractual terms have been reached by the NNPC and the potential investors. So there is no way that you can get refineries to 90% capacity template in 2019 and for us to exit complete importation of petroleum products.”

Kachikwu said the recent high petrol consumption figures in the country are alarming, adding that even the president is questioning the figures.

“I’m questioning those numbers and we are now tracking products that are coming into the country for the first time. So in a matter of two months, we will be able to say for certain what we consume.”

On the issue of the reported $60 billion loss due to non-review of production sharing contracts, Kachikwu said “there is a difference between an opportunity loss and a loss. Nobody had done anything about the law and it has gone on for years, it’s not new.

“I was talking at the time about the opportunity lost not money earned that was lost.”