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World Bank wants Buhari to probe NNPC

By The Rainbow
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FROM LEFT IS GED R&P, GMD NNPC AND THE MINISTER OF PETROLEUM RESOURCES ON ARRIVAL AT THE PHRC BOARD ROOM, PORT-HARCOURT.

The World Bank Buhari has backed calls for the incoming administration of General Muhammad Buhari to probe the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) over allegations of missing funds.

According to the Bretton Woods institution, such a probe would enhance culture of transparency and accountability in public institutions in the country.

The position of the bank was expressed by its Chief Economist for Africa, Mr. Francisco Ferreira.

The bank also praised the political maturity exhibited by President Goodluck Jonathan after the March 28 presidential election that would end the tenure of his administration on May 29.

Ferreira spoke in a video conference from Washington to journalists from across Africa on the release of 'Africa Pulse', which is

the bank's analysis of issues shaping the continent.

The Brazil-born World Bank economist said,  “One norm that has to change is the norm of impunity. I am from Brazil myself. So I am also used to a country where people could be corrupt and escape justice. That keeps the people to keep doing it.

“So, the current stand of the government-elect to look into what happened in the past hopefully will have consequences for the future. And those consequences will be that institutions will be stronger; norms will be cleaner and people will not have to steal millions of dollars from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation.

“People have alleged in the past that there had been major corruption scandals there. If that stops, then that will have very high returns in terms of the money staying around to be spent on education, health, roads and power that the poor people across the country need.

“So, my sense is that it will be good to promote cleanliness in politics.”

He also spoke on some other African countries that have elections between 2015 and 2017, saying that the example that had been shown by Jonathan and Nigeria in the just-concluded general election showed that the continent could get it right in terms of transition to new governments.

Ferreira said that if Nigeria could get it right; other countries in the region should also be able to get it right.

On a question from a South African journalist on the possibility of the country overtaking Nigeria as the largest economy on the continent given the fall of Nigeria's main export, crude oil, Ferreira said did not agree with such projection.

Also answering a question from an Angolan journalist on who between Nigeria and his country was managing the fall in oil prices better, the World Bank expert said both countries were doing well in putting measures in place to check the decline.

He praised both countries for allowing their currencies to float according to market forces rather than living in denial of the crisis occasioned by the decline in crude oil exports.

He however thinks that Nigeria is likely  to recover faster from the decline because the structure of the country's economy was more diversified than that of Angola.

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