In major restructuring, Buhari shrinks NNPC’s directorates
• Sacks eight Group Executive Directors
• GMD removes PPMC’s Managing Director
President Muhammadu Buhari has reduced the Directorates of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) from eight to four, just as the new Group Managing Director (GMD), Dr Emmanuel Kachikwu, yesterday sacked all Group Executive Directors (GEDs).
The Guardian learnt that the new GMD has the major task of repositioning the Corporation to become one big ‘profit centre.’ The Presidency, in creating the four new directorates, appointed GEDs from within the Corporation.
The new GEDs include Dr M.K Baru, for the Directorate of Refining and Engineering; Dennis Nnamdi (Exploration and Production); Bankole Komolafe (Commercial and Investment); and Abdulrazak Isiaka, for Finance.
However, unlike the GMD who was brought in from the outside of the NNPC, the four GEDs were upgraded to their present positions from the rank of Group General Managers.
The eight directorates that were shrunk to four were Gas and Power, Exploration and Production, Commercial and Investment, Engineering and Technology, Corporate Services, Refining and Petrochemicals, Business Development, Finance and Accounts NNPC chief executives (GMDs) were previously selected from among the eight Group Executive Directors, preferably that of Exploration and Production directorate, whose head is usually an engineer.
Unconfirmed reports also said that Kachikwu has sacked the Managing Director of the Petroleum Products Marketing Company (PPMC), Haruna Momoh.
But President Buhari decided to go outside of the tradition to employ a lawyer, who has traversed the oil and gas value-chain and who is seen as a no-nonsense industry operator to drive the process of repositioning the NNPC to become a real national oil company.
The reason for the sack of Dr Joseph Dawha, the former GMD, apart from the allegation of institutional corruption against the NNPC, is the lingering fuel crisis in some parts of the country.
While Buhari is believed not to be keen on removing fuel subsidy, there is a silent move to take the best path between selling off the three recently refurbished refineries and maintaining them with public funds.
An industry source told The Guardian: “The removal of the former GMD and his Group Executive Directors (GEDs) was mot unconnected with the move by the President to chart a new course for the Corporation. “
If we remember very well, the determination of the Federal Government to reposition NNPC as a profit centre was the epi-centre of Mohammed Barkindo’s tenure.
Indeed, he ran a campaign he tagged “transformation of the NNPC” that took him to virtually all the major offices of the NNPC, including the refineries. ‘But what happened after he was removed? The dream died.
Now, it is better for Mr. President to bring someone outside of the NNPC to once again drive the vehicle of NNPC transformation. “Another important aspect of his work would be to work out the best policy option for our refineries. Fuel importation cannot and is not sustainable; hence, the need for government to find lasting solution to the problem.
As has been said many times, the long-term solution lies in increasing local refining capacity of the existing three refineries and building new ones, either by government or the private sector. “But the private sector cannot come into a regulated environment.
So, the new NNPC boss must guide government on which is the best policy option for our country.” The Guardian learnt that the new NNPC boss is expected to hit the ground running in the transformation journey of the NNPC.
Under the new deal, the NNPC will be more feasible in the activities of the PPMC, while conscious efforts would be made to empower the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) to carry out its primary function of regulating the oil and gas industry.
However, it was not immediately clear yesterday which organisation (s) would assume some other auxiliary responsibilities of the Corporation.
On what should be the focus of the new NNPC helmsman, the Director of Emerald Energy Institute at the University of Port Harcourt, Prof Ilewumi Iledare, said that he must uphold transparency accountability as well as cultivate the spirit of teamwork with the GEDs and other top management members of the NNPC.
He said: “I expect Dr. Kachikwu to prioritise accountability and transparency in the conduct of the NNPC businesses. He must also work very closely with the GEDs and other members of the management.
For me, repositioning of the NNPC is very germane and one that must be done with utmost care and precision. The NNPC must operate like every national oil company that we see in other parts of the world.”