Nigeria To End Petrol Imports In 18 Months – Kachikwu

The minister of state for petroleum resources, Dr Ibe Kachikwu, has disclosed the federal government’s plans to end the importation of petrol within the next 18 months.

Disclosing this in Abuja at a press briefing yesterday while unveiling a strategic policy direction for the oil and gas sector, Kachikwu explained that government was targeting 12 to 18 months period to end petrol imports, working in collaboration with Joint Venture (JV) partners.He said when this is achieved, the country will begin to look at exporting refined products and expanding retail business.

Kachikwu said: “We must target a time frame of between 12 and 18 months to try and get out of importation: it is not good for the country; it is not a good image; it does not create jobs; it causes losses of tax income to the government and creates a huge amount of emotional backlash when people have to queue for days looking for fuel.

“We are working with JV partners who can come into the refinery area; we have advertised recently for co-located refineries, asking for people to come and co-locate brand new refineries, coupled into our refinery premises and they can share pipelines and tankages.

“We are working hard to see if we can complete the refineries we are trying to do with JV partners within the next 12 to 18 months. For the co-located refineries which are the new ones, we are targeting to see that we are able to complete those over a period of two to three years. If we do that, we will have excess capacity of refined products and we’ll begin to look at export market.”

The minister, who also gave details of the NNPC unbundling, stated that the corporation had been unbundled into seven major divisions and 20 subset firms.

Kachikwu, who had last week announced that a major unbundling of the NNPC would be announced this week, said the final phase of restructuring of the NNPC had been approved by President Muhammadu Buhari, who is also the minister of petroleum resources.

He listed the seven new divisions to include the Upstream, Downstream, Refineries, Gas and Power, Ventures, Corporate Services and Finance and Accounts Divisions, all of which would have 20 subset companies.

The minister further listed the new chief executive officers (CEOs) of the new divisions to include Bello Rabiu (Upstream), Henry Ikem-Obih (Downstream), Anibor Kragha (Refineries), Saidu Mohammed (Gas and Power), Babatunde Adeniran, (Ventures), Isiaka Abdulrazaq (Finance and Accounts), and Isa Inuwa (Corporate Services.

According to him, under the new dispensation, the heads of the various divisions and companies will focus on business drive as against the previous arrangement where a group executive director simply coordinated meetings, gave policy direction and approvals without being held to specific deliverables or held responsible for the companies under him not being profitable.

“Whatever title we are giving them is to make them have a mind-set change that their jobs have now changed. It is to make sure that the entities under them are profitable and to sit in governance over their councils and to ensure that the policies they deploy create transparency and accountability,” he said.

Speaking further, the minister also disclosed that the ministry is working with the National Assembly on a new approach to unbundle the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) for quick passage of some segments. He stated that the first segment being concentrated on would deal with governance issues, which hopefully, should be passed before the end of the year.

Reps tackle Kachikwu over NNPC unbundling

* Urge PMB to send Executive Bill to NASS

The House of Representatives yesterday condemned the planned unbundling of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) as proposed by the minister of state for petroleum resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, without following the constitutional due process. Kachikwu, who also doubles as the group managing director of the NNPC, had last week disclosed that the corporation would be unbundled into 30 firms.

But the House has asserted that instead of embarking on an unconstitutional journey, President Muhammadu Buhari should rather send an Executive Bill to the National Assembly as soon as possible if he intends to unbundle NNPC or carry out fundamental restructuring or reforms in the oil and gas sector, and not for the minister to usurp its legislative functions.

Consequently, the House mandated its Standing Committees on Petroleum (Upstream), Petroleum (Downstream), Gas and Local Content, and Legislative Compliance to ensure that Kachikwu was prevented from usurping the functions of the National Assembly and bypassing the Constitution by not allowing the minister to legislate for the National Assembly in the unbundling of NNPC.

The resolutions of the House followed the adoption of a motion sponsored by Hon. Jarigbe Agom Jarigbe, representing Ogoja/Yala Federal Constituency of Cross River State, entitled, “Urgent need to investigate acts of procedural breach by the GMD of NNPC,” at plenary yesterday.

Jarigbe, in the motion, noted that the minister was on Thursday, March 3, 2016, quoted as saying that for the national oil company, a lot of work was going on, adding that “within the next one week, we are going to be announcing some real major overhaul of the system, one that hasn’t been done in over 20 years.”

The lawmaker also quoted the minister saying that: “The effect of that will be to quite frankly unbundle the huge company into four to five main operational zones, the upstream, downstream, midstream, refining and, of course, every other company that is trending to the venture group. But what is more important is that, at the same time, we are also unbundling the subsets of these companies to close to about 30 independent companies with their own managing directors.

“And so, titles like the group executive directors, which you have been used to in the last 30 years, will disappear and in place of those you are going to have chief executive officers.”

The lawmaker, however, noted that the NNPC was established through the NNPC Act, CAP N123, laws of the Federation, 2004, and that as a creature of legislature, the NNPC Act or, any part thereof, can only be altered, changed or otherwise amended only by an Act of the National Assembly.

He said the petroleum and natural gas was included as item 39 on the exclusive list and that it was only by an act of the National Assembly that the NNPC can be unbundled and not by the fiat or administrative pronouncement of the minister or even the president.

He further expressed worry that the minister’s pronouncement pre-empted the provisions of the proposed Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), which had not been introduced in the 8th Assembly.