By Adewole Kehinde
I recently came across a headline that says “Labour faults NNPC’s petrol imports, consumption figures”. The Nigerian Labour Congress, in its memo to the House of Representatives Ad Hoc Committee on the Volume of Fuel Consumed Daily in Nigeria, criticized the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited over the secrecy surrounding the subsidy of Premium Motor Spirit popularly known as petrol.
The Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited, Mallam Mele Kyari has never hidden his reiteration and commitment to conducting the business and operations of the Company transparently, to place it on the path to profitability.
Since he assumed office, he had taken calculated steps to ensure more openness in the activities of the company and the Transparency, Accountability and Performance Excellence (TAPE) agenda has brought about greater transparency and accountability in NNPC’s management of Nigerian oil and gas revenues to date.
I want the Nigerian Labour Congress to know that Mallam Mele Kyari is a man that can never encourage over-invoicing or other processes of criminality in the management of the NNPC Limited.
It is on record that it is under the management of Mallam Mele Kyari that we witnessed the publication of 2018, 2019 and 2020 NNPC Audited Financial Statements (AFS).
This has never happened under any of the national oil management!
No wonder the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiatives (EITI), a multi-stakeholder coalition that promotes extractives transparency and accountability in over 50 countries commended the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited, Mallam Mele Kyari, for honouring his commitment to promote and deepen the culture of transparency and accountability in the Corporation.
In a letter addressed to Kyari, the EITI’s Executive Director, Mark Robinson, commented: “The NNPC has set a good example and could lead in championing transparency for other NOCs in Africa.”
Recognising NNPC’s commitment to the EITI Principles, the global body invited Mallam Kyari to speak at its virtual workshop on the topic “Learning from Mainstreaming Disclosure Efforts.”
The workshop explored further opportunities for making the systematic disclosure of extractive data the norm.
The EITI also welcomed NNPC’s transparency efforts, such as the monthly publication of its Financial and Operations Reports since 2016 as well as the publication of the Corporation’s 2018 and 2019 Audited Financial Statements (AFS).
According to Robinson, “a review of the group’s Audited Financial Statement shows that NNPC has reduced its losses by 99.7% from N803 billion in 2018 to N1.7 billion in 2019 which is attributable to a huge increase in profit from the operations of the subsidiaries.
This is an indication of good practice and commitment to principles of transparency and accountability.”
In its letter, the EITI further affirmed its support for the NNPC in tailoring monthly financial and operations reports and financial statements in line with the EITI Standard and Expectations for EITI supporting companies.
It highlighted the opportunity for the NNPC to champion discussions on upstream contract disclosure in Nigeria.
Mallam Kyari had made opening the books of the Corporation a cardinal aspect of its Management under its Transparency, Accountability and Performance Excellence (TAPE) Initiative which he launched on the assumption of office in July 2019.
Kyari’s transparency was also extended to the media when he challenged them on scrutinizing the operation of the corporation, adding that it would continue to do its best to be accountable and transparent.
“I have said it times without number that the NNPC is never afraid of any scrutiny. We will continue to play our strategic role as a key enabler of Nigeria’s economy.
“Since coming on board, we have been very open in our dealings with all our partners and stakeholders.
“From the unprecedented publication of our Audited Financial Statement (ATS) and monthly financial and operational reports to crude term contracts and several other bids and contracting processes.
“We are not relenting until this great company attains global excellence,” Kyari said.
There is no doubt that the activities of smugglers have made it difficult for the country to determine the actual consumption figures for petrol, The NNPC can only know what was trucked out from loading depots across the country but cannot determine how much of that was consumed in-country.
There are concerted efforts by the NNPC and some Federal agencies to combat the menace of smuggling of petroleum products that have been largely hampered by existing arbitrage fueled by the prevailing huge price differentials in the pump price of petrol in Nigeria and neighbouring countries.
It is high time the Nigeria Labour Congress join the transparency agenda of Mallam Mele Kyari to move the national oil company forward.
Adewole Kehinde is the Publisher of Swift Reporters. He can be reached via 08166240846, 08123608662