16 July 2016, Abuja – The leadership of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria has faulted the call by the Kaduna State Governor, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai, for the scrapping of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation.
The governor had in a paper he delivered during the 7th Wole Soyinka Centre Media Lecture Series in Abuja on Monday, called for the disbandment of the NNPC and the setting up of a new company in its stead.
But the acting General Secretary of PENGASSAN, Lumumba Okugbawa, said that instead of “killing the NNPC,” the governor should have called for the insulation of the corporation from undue political interferences that were distracting the organisation.
Okugbawa noted that corruption issue in the NNPC mentioned by the el-Rufai was a problem hindering 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 the NNPC created by an Act of Parliament in 1977 was made up of the holding office, subsidiaries and service units, all of which had been subjected to undue political interference, which hindered its autonomy and competitiveness for the past six years, adding that that should not be a yardstick for the scrapping of the corporation as demanded by the governor.
“If you look at the NNPC as it is today, it has been politicised with most of its decisions and operations being influenced by political motives, and at times, executive fiat. The corporation is so much tied to the apron of the political officeholders but not the technocrats that are at the helm of corporation’s affairs,” Okugbawa said.
Some of the areas of interference listed by him were the appointment and removal of the group managing director, group executive directors and managing directors of the NNPC subsidiaries by the President, and limited financial autonomy for its operations.