Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
In line with the anti-corruption stance of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration, the new Group Managing Director of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mele Kyari, has pledged to further automate the operations of the oil conglomerate to check corruption.
Speaking to State House correspondents after he was formally presented to President Buhari at the Aso Rock Villa, by former GMD, Makanti Baru, Kyari assured that he understood the gravity of the task ahead of him and would take all necessary measures to maintain the integrity of the country’s biggest revenue earner.
According to him, NNPC under his watch will work with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to check infractions in the system.
According to him, “we are going to work with EFCC and other institutions that are involved in controlling and contending against all forms of corruption in our system. This is in line with Mr. President’s cardinal principle to contain corruption so that this country can benefit from its resources.
“There will be no corruption where there is no discretion. So, we will automate our systems and processes so that discretion is reduced to the barest minimum. We need the help of EFCC wherever we see infractions in our systems.”
On the task at hand, Kyari stressed that “I understand the gravity of the assignment given to me, the trust that is associated with this work and the high expectations of Mr. President for us to make the company, a global company of excellence and to deliver to the citizenry the benefits of the oil and gas industry.
“We are focussed on ensuring that we deliver this in the shortest possible time and in the most efficient way. I assure all of us that we will do this work with integrity. I will ensure that by 2023, Mr. President will look back and confirm that he has not misplaced his trust on us.”
Baru, on his part expressed confidence that the new management has led by Kyari will build on the modest achieve recorded during his tenure.
According to him, “I expect the new management of NNPC to do more than double what we have done. I am not setting a high target for them but I know this team are the jet factor fellows that will zoom up, dive, come back and steady the corporation and make sure it becomes definitely the largest in Africa and make serious contribution to Nigeria’s economy.
“We expect where we have stabilised the supply of fuel to the economy, they will make sure they start exporting products to neighbouring countries. I am so convinced that this team will deliver.
“No matter what we did in terms of transition, they have their own programmes and vision of what they want to do. We are now the airbus pilots that are relaxing and cruising at an altitude and you cannot give them a vision of the jet fighter pilot that the NNPC requires.
“They will engage Mr. President at the appropriate time and get his blessing. I spent 1,099 days on the saddle of the corporation and can’t wait to present young vibrant team.”
Responding to questions on the scarcity of kerosene while he held sway, Baru said the product was now available while its price had stabilised.
“Kerosene is everywhere now. When we came, there was so much difference between what we were selling kerosene and what was available. Fuel at depots when we came on board was N76 per litre but it was settling between N250-N300, so the common man was not getting the kerosene.
“So, all what the government and NNPC were doing was bleeding and we resolved to make it available. That was why we invited the private sector to come in; so NNPC stepped back and they were selling at N210. What we did was allow the market forces to determine the price,” he explained.