PENGASSAN faults El-Rufai’s call for NNPC’s disbandment

Nasir El-Rufai

Nasir El-Rufai

MEMEBERS of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) have faulted  call by the Kaduna State Governor, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, for the scrapping of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).

Reacting to  the Governor’s comment in a paper he delivered during the 7th Prof. Wole Soyinka Birthday Lecture,  the Acting General Secretary of PENGASSAN,  Lumumba Okugbawa, explained that  instead of “kill the NNPC,” the Governor should have called for the insulation of the corporation from what he identified as  “political interference that distract the organization”.

Okugbawa noted that the alleged  corruption issue in the NNPC mentioned by the Governor is a problem hindering Nigeria’s growth and development in the oil and gas sector as a whole; adding, “Let the government deal with the corruption in the system but not to ‘throw away the baby with the bath water.”

He said that NNPC created by an Act of Parliament in 1977, is made up of the holding office, subsidiaries and service units have been subjected to “undue political interference, which hinders its autonomy for effective running and competitiveness for the past six years and that should not be a yardstick for the scrapping of the corporation as demanded by the Governor”.

He said: “If you look at the NNPC as it is today, it has been politicised with most of its decisions and operations being influenced with political motives and at times, executive fiat. The corporation is so much tied to the apron of the political office holders but not the technocrats that are at the helm of corporation’s affairs.”

Some of the areas of interference listed by  Okugbawa include appointment and removal of the Group Managing Director (GMD), Group Executive Directors (GED), and Managing Directors of NNPC subsidiaries at the whims and caprices of the president; and limited financial autonomy for its operations.

The unionist added: “NNPC should be a National Oil Corporation that can compete globally like Saudi Aramco of Saudi Arabia, Petronas of Malaysia, Petrobras of Brazil and Statoil of Norway among others given the opportunities and market potentials”.

Explaining further, he said: “If we take a look at NNPC contemporaries in the world, such as Saudi Aramco, Petrobras, Petronas and Statoil, we will notice that their holding governments give those companies freedom to grow and expansion of the companies to the great benefits of the citizenry and their respective governments.

“Operations and administration of NNPC comes under several masters and conflicting instructions, some of which defy the national objectives and aspirations for setting up the National Oil Corporation and its subsidiaries.

“Appointment, removal and/or transfer of the heads and staff of the Corporation and its subsidiaries are often executed by fiat in the manner that undermine the extant national laws, and the NNPC Act.

“Frequent changes in top management positions lead to policy somersault, and create unstable system, which often breed compromise of corporate values and principles. It is instructive to note that between 2009 and now, there have been five GMDs for NNPC namely, Dr. Mohammed Barkindo (2009-2010); Late Alhaji Shehu Ladan (April – May 2010); Engineer Austen Oniwon (2010-2012); Engineer Andrew Yakubu (2012-2014) and Dr. Joseph Dawha (Aug 2014 till date).”

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  • emmanuel kalu

    rubbish. NNPC should be a publicly traded company, with the govt owning a considerable amount of share as owner, not operator. this would force NNPC to adhere to international standard for publicly traded companies. which means regular audits, financial disclosures, quality board, transparent operation etc.


      Kalu, i concur with you on your point. enough of story telling to Nigerians


    Words of the Kaduna State Governor, Mallam El-Rufai are visionary and are words of elders. I detest with all sense of seriousness, comments of the likes of PENGASSAN. We don’t play politics with issues like this. NNPC has failed and is still failing Nigerians but we can’t wait but to find solution to it. If the corporation is not keeping to it objectives, it should be scraped or disbanded.

  • Curti Uwuigbe

    I agree with PENGASSAN. Another suggestion may be that the NNPC could be partially privatised to only Nigerians (up to 70%) but Govt. should not be in controlling capacity. Instead, Govt. should be seen as an investor who is profit oriented to demand an efficient and profitable corporation. This suggestion is based on the fact that we have the DPR, a regulatory body that is and should always be 100% Govt., and which should have a high level of control on NNPC’s operations. With DPR we will still have 100% Govt. presence in the oil and gas sector so that we should not be afraid of privatisation. This also means that the DRP needs to be truly autonomous to check and balance the ops of NNPC and other oil and gas operators/service companies. The DPR should be that Govt. representative which ensures the standardisation of NNPC and the improvement of returns to Nigeria and her people. It may be noted that the partial privatisation of the NNPC will instil discipline, improve professionalism, and increase efficiency of the corporation. It will be a win-win situation for the investors – Govt. and Nigerians.