[By Sopuruchi Onwuka]
Local and international resource accountability watchdogs are pointing at the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) as the new symbol of transparency in resource governance, turning a new reputation chapter for the national oil company previously described as a hall of corruption.
The Extractive Industries Transparency Initiatives (EITI) declared in a letter that the corporation is setting new standards for transparent administration of resource wealth in Africa; while the Bureau of Public Service Reforms (BPSR) described the Internal Open Resourcing (IOR) initiative of the corporation as tool for bridging skills gaps in corporate practice.
The EITI, a multi-stakeholder coalition that promotes extractives transparency and accountability in over 50 countries, commended the Group Managing Director of NNPC), Mallam Mele Kyari, for honouring his commitment to promote and deepen the culture of transparency and accountability in the Corporation.
Executive Director of EITI, Mark Robinson, stated that NNPC has set a good example and could lead in championing transparency for other national oil companies (NOCs) in Africa.
Thus, the EITI has invited Mallam Kyari to speak at its virtual workshop on the topic “Learning from Mainstreaming Disclosure Efforts” next month. This workshop will explore further opportunities for making the systematic disclosure of extractive data the norm.
The EITI has welcomed NNPC’s recent transparency efforts, such as the monthly publication of its Financial and Operations Reports since 2016 as well as recent publication of the Corporation’s 2018 and 2019 Audited Financial Statements (AFS). These efforts demonstrate the corporation’s continued commitment to openness in its business dealings.
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 assumption of office in July, 2019.
In a related development, Bureau of Public Service Reforms (BPSR) commended NNPC for its Internal Open Resourcing (IOR) initiative, describing it as a veritable tool required by the nation at this time to bridge the skills gap in both the public and civil services.
Director General of BPSR, Dr. Dasuki I. Arabi, gave the commendation at the October edition of the BPSR Lunchtime Reforms Seminar which held recently at the Auditorium of the Federal Ministry of Finance with Group Managing Director of NNPC, Mallam Mele Kyari as Guest Speaker.
Spokesman of NNPC, Dr. Kennie Obateru, described the NNPC Internal Open Resourcing initiative as a human capital development plan by which talents are sourced from within the rank and file of the NNPC through a competitive process to bridge managerial skills gap.
Speaking after an exhaustive presentation on the topic: “Current Reforms in the Petroleum Sector and their Impact on Nigeria – The Role of NNPC” by the NNPC helmsman who was represented by the Corporation’s Group General Manager, Corporate Planning & Strategy, Mrs. Oritsemeyiwa Eyesan, the BPSR boss said he would recommend aspects of the NNPC IOR initiative to the Head of Civil Service of the Federation for adoption in the ongoing civil service reforms.
“We have seen the successes in NNPC and that is why we have chosen to celebrate them in this seminar. We at the BPSR and the Head of Civil Service of the Federation have taken note of your wonderful innovations. As we go on to implement the Cadre 4 of the Strategic Plan for Public Service Reforms, I’m sure we will take quite a lot from you”, Dr. Arabi said.
The BPSR boss said Nigeria relies on the landmark innovations by reputable organizations like NNPC to achieve the aspiration of being among the best 20 civil services in the world by 2025.
He listed some of NNPC’s reforms in the oil and gas sector to include: Introduction of cost reflective pricing of petroleum products, deepening of transparency in procurement processes in the petroleum sector and enhancement of local content in the oil and gas industry, stressing that there was need for the National Assembly to fast-track the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) into law, to enable the country reap the full benefits of its hydrocarbon resources.
Earlier in his presentation, the Group Managing Director of NNPC said the Corporation was focused on implementing innovations that would enhance its operations and bottom-line such as increasing crude oil production and reserve, extending gas footprint to stimulate industrialization, and boosting local refining capacity.
He said NNPC was also driving the automation of its processes as part of reforms, aimed at discouraging discretionary approvals and to further deepen the culture of transparency in the system.