From Dennis Mernyi, Abuja
THE World Bank has commended the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources and Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, for bringing transparency and accountability to bear in the operations of the NNPC and the entire oil and gas industry in Nigeria.
The Managing Director of the bank, Sri Mulyani Indrawati, made this known when she paid an official visit to the Minister in his office in Abuja. She said the 20 fixes introduced by Kachikwu to the NNPC business models have gone a long way to reform the corporation for profitability.
Indrawati said the bank was ready and available to offer the Ministry of Petroleum Resources technical support, advice and funding, stressing that sound policy thrust was key in the areas of fiscal direction, gas flare out and gas to power.
In his response, Kachikwu, said since assumption of duty in August last year, a lot of reforms ranging from the first phase of restructuring and the recent restructuring have served as enablers for the introduction of new business models that have drastically reduced the losses recorded by the NNPC in the past.
“We first started with the softer issues, which were transparency issues, governance, restructuring and that was going well when we went straight into the business model. For example, when we came in, the NNPC was recording huge losses and we have been able to reverse that trend, and if we continue with that sort of trajectory, then we should be able to record profit in the near future,” Kachikwu noted.
According to him, a lot of institutional framework such as restructuring is still ongoing in all the parastatals under his watch. “Infrastructure is the toughest gap as a lot of depots and pipelines need urgent attention and you need infrastructure, be it in the upstream or downstream sector, for you to deliver results but we will continue to throw solutions at them and try to get private sector participation,” the Minister stated.
“The other tough gap is the funding. Just sheer funding of the upstream Joint Venture cash calls demands a lot of money and we are not pretending about. Again, the President has travelled from point to point and a lot of people have offered to support,” the Minister asserted.