By Oscarline Onwuemenyi
ABUJA – The Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Allison-Madueke has charged the Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF) management to ensure that adequate approvals are obtained from her office by the Fund before any major activity is carried out.
This, she said, is to ensure transparency and accountability in the application of oil and gas resources across the country.
The minister also cautioned the Fund over making public any critical matter that concerns the Oil and Gas industry operations to avoid what she termed ‘jurisdictional overlap’ by the agencies under the supervision of the ministry in recent times.
In this regard, she demanded for a quarterly briefing of the operations and planned activities by the Fund to the ministry for proper coordination.
Mrs. Allison-Madueke’s charged was conveyed to the management of PTDF by the Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Engineer Sheik Goni when he visited the headquarters of the Fund along Gimbia Street, Area 11, Garki Abuja, last week.
The Minister’s charge is coming on the heels of the earlier granted request by the ministry to the Presidency that PTDF should be placed under the supervision of the Petroleum Resources since it is been funded with the funds generated from crude sales and signature bonuses from Oil block sales and other sundry sources.
Alison-Madueke, who expressed concern about the uncoordinated nature of operations of the Fund and other agencies under the ministry, stated that, “The ministry wants to take part in all the operational guidelines and framework of all its agencies.”
According to Goni, “I am here to convey the minister’s charge to the PTDF today. I am to let you that the minister wants you to understand the thinking of the ministry. Our focus is that, starting from now, the ministry’s agencies must all work together with one mandate, which is to deliver on the government’s directives.
“We are looking at a centrally controlled and coordinated activity of persons and public relations of all the agencies under the ministry where the ministry will have connect between the Fund and other agencies”, he stated.
Meanwhile, the PTDF Executive Secretary, Engr. Muttaqua Rabe Darma has expressed commitment to ensuring strict compliance to the ministry’s directives stating, however, that the Fund has been furnishing the ministry with details of all its activities and programmes since it was brought under the supervision of the ministry in December last year.
Darma noted that he has no objections to the Fund being subject to the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, as against the Presidency, pointing out that the previous status of the organization had caused some confusion in the minds of stakeholders.
“We have been trying our best at the Fund here since December last year when we were brought from the Presidency to be under the supervision of the Petroleum Ministry, but I believe it’s not out of place that the ministry has to urge us to be more regular”, he noted.
Engineer Darma however, disclosed that the Fund is one the poorest paid agencies of the Ministry compared to others whose salary scheme is far ahead of theirs and urged the Minister to expedite action on the upward review of the wage paid to staff of the Fund to enable them perform more effectively.