Experts slam Buhari’s appointments to regulators and boards of NNPC Ltd

President Muhammadu Buhari

By Obas Esiedesa

Experts in oil and gas governance have expressed disappointment with the political nature of President Muhammadu Buhari’s appointments to the boards of regulators and NNPC Limited created by the Petroleum Industry Act, PIA.

Experts who spoke on Thursday in Abuja at a panel discussion on PIA hosted by the Center for Transparency Advocacy (CTA), said that while what was required and urgent for the sector were experienced people with excellent knowledge In the oil industry, candidates for boards of directors seemed to be politically motivated.

Independent oil and gas governance consultant Mr. Henry Adigun, who was particularly upset with the appointment of Senator Ifeanyi Ararume and others to the board of directors of NNPC Ltd, noted that across Nigeria and in every geopolitical zone, there were capable Nigerians who had extensive and managerial skills. ability to have served on the board of directors.

Adigun pointed out that despite the recent profit declaration from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), his financial situation remained precarious.

“I am not sure what the future holds for the NNPC in the next five years, unless there are drastic changes. Looking at their profit and loss accounts, looking at the current structure of the PIA, it is a difficult challenge. I am concerned about the quality of the appointments.

“I’m afraid the board is no longer political. At this point, it’s more political. At this point, it shouldn’t have mattered that every member is from the same region, what should have mattered are people who have the understanding, experience and capabilities that can attract a quality level of governance. for the NNPC to survive for the next five years, because the survival of the NNPC is essential for all of us, ”he said.

Reacting to the replacement of the current Director of the Petroleum Resources Department, Ingr. Sarki Auwalu as CEO of the Intermediate and Downstream Regulatory Authority, Mr. Adigun said it was the right decision.

While acknowledging that Auwalu was a brilliant administrator, he stressed that his strength was upstream and that he should have been appointed head of the Upstream Regulatory Commission.

“We needed someone who understands the downstream issues and the underlying issues because that’s where we can create jobs. With active downstream and mid-term activity, we can create jobs and the more jobs created, the more the sector adds to the GDP. Right now, oil and gas contributes less than eight percent of our GDP, ”Adigun added.

For her part, CTA Executive Director Faith Nwadishi explained that the roundtable was an opportunity to clarify the provisions of the law for the benefit of individuals, media and civil society organizations seeking to use clarity. as an advocacy campaign tool for engagement with government, especially in the implementation of the PIA.

She said that “special attention should be paid to Articles 83, 104105 and 108 which specifically provide for contract transparency, gas flaring penalties and the natural gas flare phase-out plan respectively, Article 108 states : “Notwithstanding any provision to the contrary under this law, a licensee or lessee producing natural gas must, within 12 months of the date of entry into force, submit to the commission a plan for the elimination and monetization of natural gas flares, which shall be prepared in accordance with regulations made by the commission under this Act.

In his presentation, the Executive Secretary of NEITI, Dr Orji Ogbonnaya Orji congratulated the Federal Government for promulgating the PIA after twenty years of the process that initiated the reforms of the oil industry, and 13 years after the start of the process. formal legislation.

Dr. noted the establishment of four main funds by the PIA to achieve economic, social and sustainable development, and added that NEITI has proposed “a transparency framework for the management of all funds created by law.

“In addition, NEITI will develop a tool (index) that would be used to measure the adequacy of transparency practices with the aim of providing feedback to the different fund managers with the aim of ensuring the consistency and transparency of the system. “.

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