Without cutting corrupt ties, NNPC’s reforms remain superficial

An international analyst, Matthew Page has stated that following the recent restructuring of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), the minister of petroleum and minister of state for petroleum; president Muhammadu Buhari  and Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu respectively, cannot afford to allow the NNPC, under a veneer of reform, to operate much as it did before, Quartzreports.

This comes as Page claims that merely nine months into the new administration, the NNPC continues to do business with several disreputable, politically-connected companies and individuals accused of corruption under various schemes from the previous administration. He noted that the two most significant contract decisions made by Kachikwu thus far suggest that it is business as usual at the NNPC, as the list of companies he awarded crude oil lifting contracts or granted permission to import refined petroleum products, contain several firms that have clear links to political power brokers or have been connected to fraud cases. Some of the companies he identified included: Matrix Energy, Northwest Petroleum, Eterna Oil and Gas, Emo Oil and Shorelink Oil and Gas.

As such, he said Buhari needs to carefully scrutinize all shady arrangements inherited from his predecessor, such as the Atlantic Energy agreement as well as other similar contractual awards to members of the powerful Nigerian elite. Furthermore, he noted that NNPC’s decision making had to be looked at more closely, including the latest unbundling plan, as creating 30 separate companies out of NNPC might not necessarily make them more profitable and could instead increase operational costs and make oversight more difficult.

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