By Victor Ahiuma-Young
LAGOS — PETROLEUM and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, PENGASSAN, has faulted the call by Governor Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna State for the scrapping of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, saying political interference is the bane of the corporation.
Reacting to the governor’s comment in a paper he delivered during the 7th Professor Wole Soyinka’s birthday lecture on Monday, PENGASSAN’s Acting General Secretary, Mr. Lumumba Okugbawa, said instead of “kill the NNPC,” the governor should have called for the insulation of the corporation from undue political interference that had distracted the organisation.
PENGASSAN noted that corruption issue in the NNPC mentioned by the governor was a problem hindering Nigeria’s growth and development in the oil and gas sector as a whole, noting: “Let the government deal with the corruption in the system but not to throw away the baby with the bath water.”
It argued that instead of killing the NNPC, what the governor should have called for was the reorganisation of the corporation and its subsidiaries to function effectively with clearer mandate, empowerment and improved financial approval authority without undue political interference.
The association called on the government to instil in NNPC, the culture of corporate governance and career management, requiring a legislative review to “ensure that the board of NNPC is headed by technocrats and not politicians; infuse compliance with global best practices and competitiveness, responsibility, transparency and accountability of all accruing revenue and expenditure in the national oil company; ensure that audit of NNPC and Subsidiaries’ business and investment relationships, operations, financing, procurements are carried out and published at appropriate intervals.”
According to the association, NNPC created by an Act of Parliament in 1977, its subsidiaries and service units had been subjected to undue political interference.