By Kelvin Alohan
As the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) transitioned into a limited liability company today, Executive Secretary of the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency (NEITI) Dr Orji Ogbonnaya Orji, has identified the need to free Nigeria from fuel imports as the biggest task before the new company.
NEITI which welcomed with high expectation the transition of the NNPC to an independent limited liability company, in a statement released in Abuja on Tuesday, said that the transition is in line with the recommendations of its industry reports for the oil and gas sector covering 1999 to 2019 which equally led to the emergence of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) 2021.
“In the NEITI oil and gas reports that covered 1999 – 2019, NEITI has consistently recommended that Nigeria’s national oil company should be privatized to make it competitive like other national oil companies across the globe,” the statement signed by its Head, Communication and Advocacy, Obiageli Onuorah said.
Extractive360 reports that Dr Orji who was at the unveiling ceremony held in Abuja expressed hope that with the transition to a commercial entity, the NNPC is now in a better position to compete favourably with leading international oil companies around the world.
“Nigeria needs a business oriented NNPC to deliver the country’s energy needs, energy transition, energy security, diversification of its economy and the building of a sustainable energy future for the country”, Dr. Orji said.
While commending the new team in NNPC and the present administration for the political will to get this reform done, Orji expressed confidence that the NNPC Ltd will leave up to its obligations as a supporting company of the global Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI).
NEITI used the opportunity to reiterate its call on the federal government to replicate the same feat for the solid minerals sector, stressing that Nigeria’s solid minerals sector also needs a holding company similar to NNPC Ltd.
“NEITI is advocating for the NLNG model which has proven to be sustainable, profitable and accountable. Despite the challenges faced by the oil and gas sector during the Covid-19 pandemic, NLNG in Nigeria posted profits and even dividends,” Dr. Orji stated.
He added that with the unveiling, some of the provisions in the PIA have been met, while NNPC ranks among national oil and gas companies to be publicly listed in Africa with an initial share capital of N200Billion and net assets of more than $59Billion.
“NEITI is confident that the Petroleum Industry Act Steering Committee (PIASTEERCO), to which it is a member, will ensure that the provisions of the PIA are implemented to the letter and Nigeria’s oil and gas industry is positioned for a profitable and sustainable future,” Dr Orji further added.