January 23, 2012
The planned reform and transformation of the petroleum industry got underway on January 20, 2012 in Abuja when the Honourable Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke set up three ‘special task force’ on
(1) Governance and Controls in the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and other parastatals under the ministry.
(2) PIB Special Task Force, which will work with
(3) The Technical Committee – charged with reviewing all versions of the bill and producing a draft within the next thirty working days.
The decision to set up these committees was taken as a consequence of the nationwide revulsion at what had become of the nations cash-cow – the oil sector. The decision to act has been well received by a sceptical nation who remains doubtful of our history of ad-hoc committees, panels and task forces – the outcomes of which are never implemented.
Thus there is a keen interest in the work of these committees and the eventual outcomes. It is light of this that concerns now exist on the propriety of including Alhaji Abba Gana in the technical committee. While his experience and competence cannot be questioned, the Justice Nkop Tribunal report on the investigations into the AP/NNPC/PPMC saga of 2003 raises serious concerns that would appear incongruent with the objectives laid out for the three committees.
Specifically the aim of the special task force on Governance and Controls is to ensure transparency and accountability in the sector. The 11-man task force is headed by Mr. Adedotun Sulaiman.
This task force is charged with the responsibility of: Reviewing all management controls in the NNPC and other parastatals; designing a new corporate governance code for ensuring full transparency, good governance and global best practices; designing a blueprint for separating policy from operations; setting key performance indices; and designing a blueprint for eliminating all rent seeking opportunities and arbitrage in the system.
Others are: Designing a blueprint for professionalism of management and personnel; designing a road map for transition to the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB); and working with external consultants as may be required to produce a report within 30 days.
The PIB special task force under the leadership of Senator Udoma Udo Udoma is charged with producing a clean copy of the bill for presentation to the National Assembly, and working with the NASS to facilitate a buy-in and quick passage of the PIB into law.
The third committee comprises of the ‘world best and experienced industry experts will be chaired by a Director of DPR, Engineer Osten Olorunsola and comprises of eight other members including Alhaji Umar Abba Gana, former Managing Director of African Petroleum Plc.
It is noteworthy to point out an unresolved aspect of the report that raises integrity issues here “Can we call it justice when our courts provide cover to people like Alhaji Umar Abba Ganna and Mr. Mufutau Oloruntele Ajayi, who fraudulently ran aground a company like AP PLC which before now, was rated as one of the best in the downstream sector of our economy, at the expenses of innocent shareholders? That is not justice, but a travesty of it. It is things of this nature that make Nigeria appear to the outside world as the most corrupt nation in the world. The Tribunal is happy that the National Judicial Council is now dealing firmly and ruthlessly with some of the judges who think that corruption in our society is a virtue. However, a lasting solution to this problem should be found.”