President Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday, officially unveiled the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL), and declared that the new entity was henceforth free from institutional regulations.
Buhari, who made this public at the State House Conference Centre, Presidential Villa, Abuja, stated that the oil firm would conduct itself under best international business practices.
He said, “The provisions of PIA (Petroleum Industry Act) 2021, have given the Nigerian petroleum industry a new impetus, with an improved fiscal framework, transparent governance, enhanced regulation, and the creation of a commercially-driven and independent national oil company that will operate without relying on government funding and free from institutional regulations such as the Treasury Single Account (TSA), Bureau of Public Procurement (BPE), and Fiscal Responsibility (FR) Acts.
“It will, of course, conduct itself under the best international business practice in transparency, governance, and commercial viability.”
The president said the government was transforming the petroleum industry to strengthen its capacity and market relevance for current and future global energy priorities.
“By chance of history, I was privileged to lead the creation of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation on the July 1, 1977. Forty-Four years later, I was again privileged to sign the Petroleum Industry Act in 2021, heralding the long-awaited reform of our petroleum sector,” he stated.
The president further noted that coincidentally, “I, on July 1, 2022, authorised the transfer of assets from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation to its successor company, the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited, and steered the implementation leading to the unveiling of Africa’s largest national oil company today.
“I, therefore, thank Almighty God for choosing me to consistently play an important role in shaping the destiny of our national oil company from the good to the great.
“NNPC Limited will operate as a commercial, independent, and viable NOC at par with its peers around the world to sustainably deliver value to its over 200million shareholders and the global energy community while adhering to its fundamental corporate values of integrity, excellence, and sustainability.”
He said NNPC Limited was mandated by law to ensure Nigeria’s national energy security is guaranteed to support sustainable growth across other sectors of the economy as it delivers energy to the world.
“It is, therefore, my singular honour and privilege on this historic day of July 19, 2022, to unveil the NNPC Limited, with a focus on becoming a dynamic global energy company of choice to deliver energy for today for tomorrow, for the day days after tomorrow,” Buhari stated.
Buhari also affirmed that the company was mandated by law to ensure that Nigeria’s national energy security was guaranteed.
Thepresident said Africa’s largest National Oil Company (NOC) would also support sustainable growth across other sectors of the economy as it delivers energy to the world.
At the event, which featured a special rendition of the Theme Song “Energy for today, Energy for tomorrow, Energy for Everyone” by an Ensemble, the president recounted how God had used him to consistently play an important role in shaping the destiny of the country’s NOC in the last 45 years.
He expressed optimism that the NNPC Limited would operate without relying on government funding and be free from institutional regulations such as the Treasury Single Account (TSA).
“This is a landmark event for the Nigerian oil industry,” Buhari said.
“Our country places a high premium on creating the right atmosphere that supports investment and growth to boost our economy and continue to play an important role in sustaining global energy requirements.
“We are transforming our petroleum industry, to strengthen its capacity and market relevance for the present and future global energy priorities”.
The president, therefore, assured stakeholders in the industry that Africa’s largest NOC will adhere to its fundamental corporate values of Integrity, Excellence and Sustainability, while operating as a commercial, independent, and viable NOC at par with its peers around the world.
He added that the company would focus on becoming a dynamic global energy company of choice to deliver energy for today, for tomorrow, and for the days after tomorrow.
Buhari thanked the leadership and members of the National Assembly for demonstrating uncommon courage and patriotism in the passage of PIA that culminated in the creation of NNPCL.
The president charged the company to ensure that Nigerians at large get value from its operations in line with global best practices.
He noted that the Petroleum Industry Act 2021 has given an additional impetus for a transparent and profitable energy venture.
The president assured that the NNPC Limited will operate as a commercial, independent and viable NOC at par with its peers around the world, to sustainably deliver value to its over 200 million shareholders and the global energy community, while adhering to its fundamental corporate values of integrity, excellence and sustainability.
With the NNPC transitioned to a fully commercial entity, the Federal Government would, henceforth, halt all forms of funding for projects and sundry purposes as against what was obtained in the last 45 years of the national oil company’s existence.
According to the president, Nigeria places a high premium on creating the right atmosphere that supports investment and growth to boost its economy and continues to play an important role in sustaining global energy requirements.
“We are transforming our petroleum industry, to strengthen its capacity and market relevance for the present and future global energy priorities,” the president stated.
“It will, of course, conduct itself under the best international business practice in transparency, governance and commercial viability.
In his remarks, Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, said with the signing of the PIA, which assures international and local oil companies of adequate protection for their investments, the nation’s petroleum industry is no longer rudderless.
‘‘From the onset of this administration, Mr President never concealed his desire to create a more conducive environment for the growth of the oil and gas sector, and addressing legitimate grievances of communities most impacted by extractive industries,” he stated.
“While the country was waiting for the PIA, Nigeria’s oil and gas industry lost about $50billion worth of investments. In fact, between 2015 and 2019, KPMG states that ‘only four per cent of the $70billion investment inflows into Africa’s oil and gas industry came to Nigeria even though the country is the continent’s biggest producer and the largest reserves’.
“We are setting all these woes behind us, and a clear path for the survival and growth of our petroleum industry is now before us,” he said.
Sylva described the unveiling of NNPC Ltd as a new dawn in the quest for the growth and development of the Nigerian oil and gas industry, opening new vintages for partnerships.
He thanked the president for his unparalleled leadership, steadfastness, and unalloyed support for ensuring that the country’s oil and gas industry is on a sound footing.
Also speaking, the Group Chief Executive Officer of NNPC Limited, MeleKyari, announced that the company had adopted a strategic initiative to achieve the mandate of energy security for the country by rolling out a comprehensive expansion plan to grow its fuel retail presence from 547 to over 1,500 outlets within the next six months.
He assured stakeholders and the global energy community that the new company was endowed with the “best human resources one can find anywhere in the industry.
“NNPC Limited is positioned to lead Africa’s gradual transition to new energy by deepening natural gas production to create low carbon activities and positively change the story of energy poverty at home and around the world,” he said.
Meanwhile, President MuhammaduBuhari’s Special Assistant on New and Digital Media, ToluOgunlesi, has dismissed claims that the Federal Government has sold the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL).
Ogunlesi assured that the Federal Government still owns NNPC.
He explained that NNPC was only transitioning from a government parastatal into a commercial liability company.
In a tweet, Ogunlesi wrote: “NNPC has not been ‘SOLD’, please. It is still wholly owned by government. What has happened is a TRANSITIONING from a government ‘parastatal’, into a commercially-run Limited Liability Company (still wholly owned by Government of Nigeria,on behalf of the people of Nigeria), governed by CAMA.”
The event had the Senate President, Dr Ahmad Lawan; Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon Femi Gbajabiamila; among other top government dignitaries, in attendance.
Customs Suspends Rice Sale As Seven Die In Stampede
The Nigeria Customs Service has announced the suspension of the sale of foodstuffs following a stampede that reportedly killed seven persons at the NCS Old Zonal Headquarters in the Yaba area of Lagos State, last Friday.
A Chief Superintendent of Customs and National Public Relations Officer for Comptroller General of Customs, Abdullahi Maiwada, disclosed the suspension of the exercise in a statement on Monday.
Nigeria Customs had said it was selling seized food items at N10,000 per 25kg to alleviate the people’s suffering as a result of the current high cost of living and other economic hardships.
Last Friday, a pregnant woman and six others reportedly died in a stampede after some suspected hoodlums attempted to force their way into the Yaba Customs office compound.
Some Lagos residents who thronged the NCS office in Yaba expressed disappointment on Monday following the suspension of the initiative.
However, in a statement on Monday evening, the NCS said the suspension became necessary considering “the recent unfortunate event.”
“We regrettably announce the suspension of this exercise until we establish what transpired on Friday, February 23, 2024,” the NCS spokesman said.
He explained that: “The disposal of the food items got off to a smooth start at about 0800hrs. We enjoyed the cooperation of the large crowd that obliged us, giving preferences to the elderly, people living with disabilities, pregnant women, and other vulnerable Nigerians who showed up for the exercise.
“This was the case up until about 1700hrs, as attested to by the over 5,000 beneficiaries and members of the press. However, unforeseen challenges arose when we ran out of stock and announced the continuation of the exercise the following day, leading to a regrettable outcome.
“The crowd became desperate and charged through our barricades in search of rice bags inside emptied containers. In the stampede that ensued, some fatalities and injuries were regrettably recorded.”
The Customs extended its “heartfelt condolences to the families of those who lost their lives during the unfortunate incident.”
The service said it was working with health authorities to establish contact and engage directly with the victims’ families on their next steps.
Court Dismisses Police Objection Against Fubara’s CoS …Restrains Police From Arresting Ehie
A Rivers State High Court in Port Harcourt, yesterday, dismissed the preliminary objection by counsel to the Nigerian Police, Celestine Dickson, challenging the jurisdiction of the Court to hear the fundamental rights suit by the Chief of Staff to Governor Siminalayi Fubara, Hon. Edison Ehie against the police for lack of merit.
The trial Judge, Justice Sika Aprioku, in a ruling, yesterday, assumed jurisdiction and held that the non-joinder of the Nigeria Police Force in a matter that the Commissioner of Police is a party to does not render the suit incompetent.
Justice Aprioku said the application by the Police lacks merit and thereby dismissed it with a cost of N100,000 in favour of Hon Edison Ehie.
Aprioku also granted the prayers of the counsel to Edison, Damian Okoro to restrain the Police from arresting, detaining, harassing, or inviting Ehie based on the trumped-up charges in the suit by Rt Hon. Martin Amaewhule in connection to the destruction of the Hallow chamber of the Rivers State House of Assembly.
Speaking to newsmen outside the courtroom, counsel to the Police, Celestine Dickson, said he would study the judgment and advise his clients accordingly.
Dickson stated, “That is the wisdom of the court and we cannot criticise the wisdom of the court. The outcome of court decisions must bind parties.
“If you are not satisfied I think you study the judgement and take the next step. The court made it clear that in a couple of minutes, we were going to have copies of the judgement. That will give us the opportunity to look at the judgement and advise our clients accordingly.
On his part, one of the counsel to the Chief of Staff, Ibioku Mac-Barango said the judgment reflects the position of the law.
Fubara Expresses Confidence In Tinubu To Address Labour Concerns
In the midst of the ongoing nationwide protest organised by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Rivers State Governor, Sir Siminalayi Fubara, has expressed confidence in President Bola Tinubu’s ability to address the concerns raised by the organised labour and alleviate their fears.
Fubara gave the assurance during the NLC’s protest to the Government House, Port Harcourt, yesterday .
The State NLC, led by its chairman, Alex Agwanwor, had joined its counterparts in other parts of the country to protest against high cost of living in the country occasioned by the fuel subsidy removal by the Federal Government in May last year.
Recall that there have been a series of protests across the country over the cost of living, inflation, insecurity and hardship among Nigerians.
The NLC and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) had on February 8 issued a 14-day nationwide strike notice to the Federal Government over the failure to implement the agreements reached on October 2, 2023 following the removal of the fuel subsidy.
Responding to a letter of demands presented to the governor by the State NLC, Fubara noted that the grievances outlined by the protesters primarily fell within the purview of the Federal Government.
The governor, who was represented by the Head of the Rivers State Civil Service, Dr. George Nwaeke, said, “To all who listened to every presentation of the labour leader as it is being read out, we can find out none is local, not originating from local source here. They are all national issues and we have hope in the Renewed Hope Agenda of the Federal Government. We have hope. And I know Governor Fubara will also deliver this message as presented by you to the President.”
Fubara further assured the protesters that his administration remained committed to alleviating the economic hardships faced by the people of Rivers State.
He highlighted initiatives such as the provision of palliative buses in response to the fuel subsidy removal and the ongoing development of 20,000 housing units for low-income earners.
The governor also emphasized his administration’s dedication to improving the welfare of civil servants, citing measures such as the employment of 10,000 youths into the state civil service, promotions, and the provision of bonuses.
He affirmed the significance of the issues raised and reiterated his commitment to prioritizing the welfare of workers in the State.
He, however, assured that the NLC’s demands would be conveyed to the President as presented.
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