The hitherto government cashcow that had provided warchest to many highly placed and connected Nigerians, the
National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) officially transforms from a state-owned oil corporation to a private limited liability company today.
But the mood of the moment, typified by hardship, poverty high cost of living and low disposable income, among others, may have diminished the essence of the epoch making transition to many citizens.
With low morale and expectations, some Nigerians would expect to see a total overhaul of the country’s oil and gas sector, so as to engender a sense of belonging to the citizens.
One of the implications is that the new status will ensure that the new NNPC Ltd will be governed by an extant Company and Allied Matters (CAMA) regulation.
Nigerians are looking forward to seeing an organization that will be less bureaucratic, administrative bottlenecks, but now an efficiently run and administered company.
Before now, the corporation was run based on political and personal patronage system where the workers saw themselves as working in an oil company but guided by civil service rules and regulations.
Also, the development would mean subjecting the accounts of the company to public Scrutiny even as it would also change and be in line with the best international best practices as well as International Financial Reporting Standards.
Nigerians expect to see less wastages that were the hallmarks of the corporation.
Recruitments are also expected to be based on merit and no longer ‘quota system’ or getting notes from the Presidency or legislature, or even paying ‘ransome’ before getting into the ‘new’ organization.
This is because the transformation is expected to usher in a profit and cost centres, with profit maximization as the ultimate.
Nigerians, this time have become distraught and frustrated as they are fighting for existence and not living, with basic amenities becoming unattainable.
According to Friday Ameh, Lagos based energy analyst, what Nigerians are yearning for is good governance that would make the benefits of the exercise meaningful to their lives.
Arguing that the transformation had resulted from the passage of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) in August 2021 when the old NNPC was unbundled, Ameh said:
“Nigerians have not been able to enjoy the benefits of the natural endowments, one if it is oil, due to bad leadership over the years.
“Our major expectation now should be a responsible and accountable leadership, without which, the benefits of these transformation would not be felt and enjoyed by the citizens. “
Speaking further he said that a responsible government would not allow a private organization to exploit its citizens.
“Besides providing the enabling environment, the government would ensure that the week, poor and less privileged are protected against exploitation, “ he said.
Another analyst expects to see the monopoly being enjoyed in the past, particularly in importation of refined products to be broken.
Similarly, the mystery surrounding the subsidy payments, which have been shrouded in secrecy over the years will have to be made public and transparent.
“We are waiting to see the ownership structure or the level of influence of government in its operations as that will determine the level of responsibility of government.
But I can tell you that most Nigerians have lost hope in Government’s ability to protect them or their interests, so it will take sometime for the same disgruntled citizens to believe whatever government may be doing or wants to do, no matter how good intentioned. Time shall tell, “ he added.
He added that the government by its definition was supposed to provide goods and services for its citizens, but if in the case of Nigeria, the government wants to run everything about its institutions like capitalist nations, only time will tell.
Public accounts of the former corporation had been subject of controversy as neither the citizens nor the elite understood its direction, not to talk of occasional profits allegedly made by the corporation.
About two weeks ago Nigerians woke up one morning to discover that fuel scarcity had surfaced across the major cities of Nigeria.
According to the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), it was as a result of the failure of NNPC to supply adequate products to end-users
Rather than owning up and taken necessary action, the corporation officials were involved in blame game.
However, the Group Managing Director (GMD) of NNPC Ltd, Mele Kyari, had reportedly said that the transformation signified a new beginning for the entity.
According to him, the company will do all things possible to guarantee compliance with the requirements of the PIA in terms of guidelines and timetables for action.
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Kyari hinted that the new business would be active when the Ministers of Petroleum and Finance transfer verified assets from the corporation to the NNPC Ltd, adding that the earliest time the corporation could begin to issue its Initial Public Offer (IPO) to investors would be in the next two years.
“Nigerians are waiting with bated breath to reap the benefits of the transformation, no matter the number of years it tskes.
What we are hoping to see is a well run and transparent organization, devoid of political patronage and all the vices we have been subjected to in recent past, “ says an analyst