14 September 2016, Lagos -A civil society organisation, the Africa Network for Environment and Economic Justice (ANEEJ), has accused the body of former Group Managing Directors of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, of pursuing a selfish agenda in calling for a hike in price of petrol.
They claimed the call was capable of ruining the country.
In an e-mailed statement to Vanguard in Abuja, Executive Director of ANEEJ, Mr. David Ugolor, also warned that care should be taken in managing government policy which could attract a negative reaction from the public, especially with regards to fuel price.
“My initial response to their proposal was to reflect on their core demands which include the urgent need for NNPC to increase the price of fuel in the Country and the need for NNPC to retain the National Petroleum Investment and Management Services, NAPIMS, which was not a surprise considering the history and characters of those who were in the meeting,” Ugolor said.
In the context of ongoing oil and gas reform debate in the country, Ugolor stated that he expected the former NNPC GMDs to consider the state of NNPC which he said is not very healthy due to the conflict of interest and widespread corruption.
According to him, to deal with the problems in NNPC, there was an urgent need for reform which started a long time ago but vested interests in government, from the military regime to democracy era resisted it.
He said, “For instance, one of the key reasons why there has been a campaign to get the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) passed into law is to remove the discretionary power of the Honourable Minister of Petroleum from retaining the power of regulation and the award of oil blocks and also through the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company, NPDC, participating in exploration and production.
“This model has not helped the country and you know that most of the ex-GMDs were the promoter and for them to turn around in the face of current challenges to be suggesting that President Buhari should sustain the traditional NNPC business model is really a shame.
“Looking into their proposal at a glance you can see the conflict inherent in it. For example, they are suggesting that NNPC should increase fuel price based on market approach and also at the same time asking NNPC to retain NAPIMS which clearly exposed their selfish agenda that has ruined the Country.
“How do you reconcile using a market approach in the fuel price and then at the same time encouraging State control of the institutions that will drive efficiency in the oil sector?”
Ugolor further lamented the huge waste and lack of transparency in the petroleum industry, stating that the amount of resources stolen in the process of oil swap deals was enough to carry out the turn -around maintenance of the country’s refineries.
He, therefore, called on the Federal Government to ensure the speedy passage of the PIB so as to eliminate all the waste in the industry.