CLEANING THE ROT IN NNPC
The recent 12-member committee set up by the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, to enthrone transparency and sanitize activities in the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) is welcome. It is a step in the right direction.
The committee, which will ensure reforms and transparency in the operations of the corporation and other parastatals in the Ministry, has 60 working days to submit its report for review and action.
The committee is expected to design a blue-print for separating policy from operations in NNPC and other parastatals as well as eliminate rent-seeking opportunities and arbitrage in the NNPC system. Also, it will develop a blue-print for professionalism in the parastatals and design a roadmap for transition into the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) regime.
The terms of reference of the committee include designing a new corporate governance code for ensuring full transparency, good governance and global best practices in the oil corporation and other parastatals.
It will be recalled that another task force was inaugurated by the minister about two weeks ago to ensure the speedy drafting and passage of the PIB as part of the reform agenda for the sector. At the inauguration of the committee, Alison-Madueke charged them to make recommendations that will ensure reforms and transparency in the operations of NNPC and other parastatals in the ministry. We commend the minister for setting up the committee expected to recommend ways of cleaning the rot in the corporation and give it a new lease of life devoid of stinking corruption.
The committee has become relevant in view of glaring cases of malfeasance in the organization. A case in point is the controversial fuel subsidy disbursement, which is now under probe by the House of Representatives. There are also allegations of money not accounted for as well as illegal sales of our crude oil under the watch of some corrupt officials of the corporation and other sharp practices in the oil sector.
It is important that the corporation is cleansed and made to work the way it ought to have been. We decry the monumental fraud that goes on in the corporation and the inability of the security operatives or the anti-graft agencies to go after those behind such criminality. It is regrettable that most of the things that happen in NNPC are shrouded in secrecy. The sanitization could not have come at better time than now. All the corrupt people in the organization should be shown the way out in addition to stamping out all avenues of sleaze.
The committee should do a good job and come out with recommendations on how to clean up the organization within the stipulated time-frame. They should justify the confidence reposed in them.
Let their recommendations be used to achieve the purpose for setting up the committee. It is on record that some governments in our shores often do not implement recommendations given to them by committees such as the current one. In fact, some of their recommendations had gathered dust in the shelves or drawers in which they were kept. We do not want the same fate to befall the recommendations of this committee. Sanitizing the NNPC is a noble objective that should be pursued with all sense of seriousness. Let all those involved work in concert to make it a success.