By Stephen Ubanna
President Muhammadu Buhari, who is in a hurry to fix the nation’s battered economy in the next four years , appear to have given a clue that technocrats would dominate his ministerial list and appointment into government agencies, with the recent appointment OF Mele Kolo Kyari, a former General Marketing, Crude Oil Marketing as the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation,
This may have given hope to Nigerian Customs personnel that if he also decides to drop Hameed Ali, a retired Army Colonel and Comptroller General , Nigerian Customs Service, NCS, he may appoint a serving Comptroller, which is an equivalent of a General Manager in the state oil Company ,who has functioned in the government revenue generating and enforcement agency in various roles to take over fro.
The Katsina born Nigerian President may have disappointed politicians who had reached out to their contacts in the Presidency, particular, some of the former members of the kitchen cabinet who still have his ear to put in words for them to be given appointment in NNPC.
He may have been encouraged to thinker with the option of bringing in more technocrats into the new government because of the Performance of Ngozi Okonjo- Iweala, a World Bank, top Executive, and former minister of Finance and Coordinator of the Economy and Akiwumi Adesina, another former minister of Agriculture and Rural Development and now President , African Development Bank, ADB in the erstwhile Goodluck Jonathan Administration.
Note that most of the
It is not surprising why the President may have sent a signal to the politicians lobbying for appointment to forget about the key ministries, agencies and departments that are vital to the growth of the nation’s economy which he insists would be manned by technocrats.
Others on the list are Lawrencia Nwadiabuwa Ndupu, south east, COO, Ventures,Adeyemi Adetunji, south west, COO, Downstream and Farouk Garba, COO, Corporate Services.
Iapparent reaction to the appointment of Kyari, a noted technocrat as the GMD, of NNPC, Mohammed Sanusi Barkindo, a former GMD, of the Corporation and now Secretary General, Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, OPEC, described it as ”surprising but a deserving position” for him.
The former NNPC, boss , disclosed that the President has made a bold Statement that ”exemplary record and exceptional performance will count in his appointments this time around, stressing that the new NNPC boss had worked in a variety of strategic Departments where he had distinguished himself as a great performer.
Kyari’s appointment may not have taken off with immediate effect. this is because Mikanti Baru, the incumbent Group Managing Director tenure would elapse on July 18, 2019, when he would proceed on on retirement. Business analysts believe that the date of resumption which was pegged on Baru’s retirement would give him an opportunity to understudy him and properly monitor the running of the Corporation in the last three years by him to ensure a smooth transition.
There is no gainsaying the fact, that Baru, a
Giving himself a pass mark over the running of the Corporation , an elated Baru disclosed that the relative peace in the Niger Delta region, home of oil and Gas , , in Nigeria, has shored up the country’s crude oil production to about 2.1 million barrels per day , mbpd, and 2.3 mbpd in condensate. He further said that the Corporation under his watch ramped up Crude to about 3,00,000 bpd.
He is optimistic that the oil production will still go up with the search for oil in the Gongola Basin in north eastern state of Bauchi , as the Corporation may hit 14,000fttarget by next week.
The out-going NNPC , boss may have used the opportunity of his retirement to give an insight of the cost of producing a barrel of crude oil , which had dropped from $27 to $22and moving towards the United States bench mark of $20. He noted with NIETI, BPP, the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission, ICPC, and Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, looking into the activities of the Corporation in the last three years in open competitive bidding processes, the country has statrted getting its value worth in the oil sector.
According to him, ”it has encouraged Foreign Direct Investment, FDI, that has hit $7 billion this year alone”. He may won himself into the heart of Nigerians when he disclosed that the” monthly audited financial report of the Organisation is becoming more accountable to the government and the people”. Baru, may have gladdened heart of Nigerians , when he revealed that NNPC, could be an integrated company going by the investments on ground.
He has every reason to think so, as the Corporation currently supplies over 80 percent of gas to the 21 gas driven power generating plants in the country, thus contributing significantly to the nation’s power supply. One area that the outgoing NNPC boss , has said to have received bashing from critics was the offshore processing of the country’s crude oil into petroleum products for local consumption which was described as a wate of resources.
The former NNPC GMD, however, thinks differently. He opined that ”with the Direct Purchase Supply Regime that replaced the Offshore Processing Agreements, OPA, where the country’s crude was sold in a barter arrangement for negotiated products with reputable refineries and traders, is saving the country over $1.2 billion annually.
In spite of his claims that the country has made much savings by refining its crude for negotiated products abroad, Nigerians would not take it as they want the Buhari Administration to fix the three ailing refineries without further delay to create job opportunities for the teeming unemployed youths in the country .
He may read the handwriting on the wall that Nigerians are becoming impatient that he had suggested Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, intervention that has funds for such. Alternatively, he wants the government to utilise the country’s Excess Crude Account to rehabilitate the refineries instead of sharing it with the other tiers of government under pressure. He maintained that an” investment in the refinery is worth it and can be repaid if well managed”.
Many believe that Baru, the former GMD, of NNPC, could open up because he is no longer in the employ of the government where he could made to cover up a lot of things under secrecy oath. He had revealed that $1 billion was taken out from the Account about a year to fund the Islamic Fundamentalists, popular Boko Haran Insurgency in the north east.
Political analysts, would want Kyari, the new NNPC, boss, take up the matter of rehabilitating the refineries with Godwin Emefiele, the governornor of the CBN, and also drum into the ears of the President about the benefits of fixing the refineries.
Political watchers, fear that Kyari might find it difficult to confront Buhari on such a sensitive issue as he needed to work himself into his heart ” to be confirmed in office.
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