By Phillip Oladunjoye – Senior Correspondent (With Agency Reports)
President-elect, Muhammadu Buhari is said to have concluded plans to sack and replace all top management of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC as part of his mission to overhaul the oil and gas industry.
According to the report, which attributed the information to an All Progressives Congress (APC) source, the new administration will first sack and replace the top management of the state oil company, then it will review its accounts to restore credibility.
The report said a bill will be drafted to break the NNPC into four entities, as already prescribed in the latest Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) draft; but will also remove the oil minister from the NNPC’s board of directors to curb political interference.
Others said more generally that the minister’s current powers would be heavily trimmed.
According to the report, oil and gas will have separate companies for upstream, with a third covering pipelines and refining, and a fourth will be an inspectorate, saying that the draft could be submitted to parliament in the first quarter of next year.
The report also quoted Senator Bukola Saraki, whose APC party controls both houses of parliament after a landslide win, to have told Reuters that: “We need to address the structural issues and leave the fiscal for now. A more transparent NNPC is needed with reasonable accounting.”
According to the report, four party sources from Buhari’s APC told Reuters that the issue of fiscal terms, seen as crucial by the industry, will have to wait on current thinking about oil and gas policies for Africa’s leading producer, adding that crude output has stagnated close to two million barrels per day over the past few years, owing partly to under-investment.
The report noted that Buhari owes his March 28 victory against incumbent Goodluck Jonathan partly to a perception that Jonathan allowed corruption to get out of control — especially in the oil sector, noting that a string of multibillion dollar oil corruption scandals tainted the NNPC and other bodies that handle energy.
It explained that by contrast, Buhari was seen as one of the few Nigerian leaders to have cracked down on corruption during his military rule in 1983-1985, which many Nigerians hope he will again.
Source : Independent