Nigeria: Oil Sector Reforms – Buhari May Scrap Some Govt Agencies

There are indications that some agencies under the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) may be scrapped as part of the reforms being initiated by President Muhammadu Buhari.

The president hinted this yesterday when he listed the removal of bureaucratic bottlenecks created by multiple government agencies as one of the reforms to be undertaken by his administration.

According to him, such bottlenecks currently impede the operations of companies in the oil and gas sector.

  • Buhari spoke at separate meetings with delegations from Exxon- Mobil and the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas Company (NLNG) at the presidential villa, Abuja.

    Managing director of NLNG, Mr. Babs Omotowa, had earlier sought the president’s intervention in reducing the number of government agencies around the plant which, he said, had undermined the firm’s global competitiveness.

    In his reply, Buhari told the delegations that his administration would undertake appropriate reforms and implement fresh policies to boost national income from oil and gas production.

    He added that his government would also give priority attention to the security of oil and gas installations as well as maritime security in a bid to boost national earnings from the sector.

    “It is the responsibility of the federal government to secure the environment. The vandalism of oil installations and pipelines, piracy, oil theft and the fall in the international price of oil have made our economic situation very disturbing.

    “This government will do all within its powers to secure the environment and encourage more investments in the oil sector,” he said.

    Buhari further noted that that his administration would ensure that Nigeria’s oil and gas industry quickly becomes more globally competitive, even as he assured the NLNG delegation of his administration’s full support to plans to expand the total production capacity of the company.

    The president, however, lamented that political squabbles and interference in the past had prevented the NLNG from attaining its full potential.

    “Today, we are celebrating six trains. It could have been 12 trains if all had gone according to plan,” Buhari said.

    The MD of NLNG, Omotowa, had also sought the president’s support for Train 7 of the NLNG, which, he said, would create additional 18,000 construction jobs and an additional $ 3billion dividend to government when operational.

    The Exxon-Mobil delegation was led by its managing director, Mr. Nolan O’Neal, while NNPC group managing director, Dr Joseph Dawha, was part of the NLNG delegation.

    PMB Will Surprise Everyone With Uncommon Performance -APC

    Amid widespread views and criticisms that the President Muhammadu Buhari-led government has failed to hit the ground running 32 days after its inauguration, the All Progressives Congress (APC) yesterday explained that the government is being methodic in its approaches to achieve uncommon performance that will surprise everyone.

    APC national publicity secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, told journalists at a press briefing in Lagos that contrary to some individualized views, the Buhari-led government had taken some measures that had endeared it to both Nigerians and international community.

    He said, “It has been about one month now since President Buhari assumed office, and I can tell you that there has been motion and there has been movement contrary to what is being peddled in some quarters.”

    Mohammed lamented that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) was bent on frustrating the APC-led government, pointing out that the Buhari administration got the handover notes from the former government just four days before the inauguration, thus hampering its efforts to have a clear understanding of the position of things so that the party could map out the necessary measures to address them.

    He said: “If any disease is not appropriately diagnosed, it cannot be effectively treated. Any government that is truly desirous of bringing about real change will not act hastily and without the necessary understanding of what is on ground. Coupled with the delay in getting the much-needed information, that takes time.”

    On insecurity and the fight against terrorism, the APC scribe said the Buhari administration had since hit the ground running.

    “The president had hardly been sworn into office when he embarked on a shuttle diplomacy to rally Nigeria’s neighbours to act as a common front against the terror group, Boko Haram. The president travelled to Chad and Niger, and then hosted a summit of the Lake Chad Basin Commission that comprised Cameroon, Chad and Niger, with Benin also invited.”

    Stressing that the fight against corruption ranks very high on the list of Buhari administration’s priorities, he asserted that the fight against terror cannot succeed without putting an end to the kind of massive corruption being witnessed in the country.

    He said, “That is why the president also included it on the wish list he took to Germany during the last G7 summit. Thankfully, some Western nations have now assured the Buhari administration of all possible assistances in its efforts to recover the billions of Naira that spirited away from the public till by public officers in the immediate past administration.”

    Mohammed recalled that the president had, on Monday, ordered revenue generating agencies, including the NNPC, FIRS, Customs and NPA, to close all Illegal revenue accounts and to also remit all funds generated to the federation account.

    “This is a momentous step considering that those illegal accounts are being used to siphon public funds. Thanks to the painstaking efforts of President Buhari, Nigerians now know that out of N8.1 trillion generated by the NNPC in three years, N3.8 trillion of it was not remitted to the federation account.

    “Nigerians now know that the cash in the excess crude account has been depleted by $ 2 billion without explanation. A panel of four governors has been set up to investigate what happened to the money that was not remitted to the federation account. The rot met by the Buhari Administration is sickening, and the president is working hard to plug all loopholes for siphoning public funds, in addition to recovering looted public funds,” he stated.

    The APC spokesman added that these actions were just the beginning of the fight against corruption in the country and urged Nigerians to prepare to watch as events unfold in the anti-corruption fight in the days ahead.

    “It will no longer be business as usual as the Buhari administration seeks to make sure that every kobo of national funds is spent for the benefit of Nigerians, not to fill the deep pockets of a few fat cats.”

    On the international scene, he also noted that since President Buhari’s election on March 28, 2015, Nigeria has been moving fast to regain its deserved place in the comity of respected nations.

    According to him, “leaders who once shunned Nigeria have been inviting President Buhari to visit their countries. The latest is US President Barack Obama who will play host to our president at the White House on July 20.”

    He pointed out that there is no better indication of how much Nigeria is regaining its lost glory than the recent election of former agriculture minister, Dr Akinwumi Adesina, as the president of the African Development Bank (AfDB), the first time Nigeria would be winning the post in the many decades of the organization’s existence.

    “Recall that Nigeria has never before led the continental bank despite its front-line role there. In backing and campaigning for Dr. Adesina, President Buhari put his acclaimed sterling qualities to a global test, and he passed in flying colours. Adesina’s election is a testimony to the perception of Nigeria under President Buhari’s leadership,” he said.

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