Nigeria’s oil and gas sector accounts for about 80 per cent of the total corruption-related issues across the country, the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria has said.
According to IPMAN, although some cases of corruption may not be seen as involving the oil sector at the surface level, in-depth analysis of most of such cases normally have direct or indirect links to the oil and gas industry.
The association’s National President, Mr. Chinedu Okoronkwo, told our correspondent in Abuja that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation was largely involved in most of the corruption-related issues in the country.
Okoronkwo, while commenting on the restructuring at the NNPC, stated that if the Federal Government could stop corruption in the oil and gas sector, then it would have been able to reduce corruption in Nigeria by about 80 per cent.
He, however, stated that with the recruitment of private sector players into the national oil firm, the NNPC would be transformed.
The IPMAN president said, “By the time that area (oil sector) is rid of all forms of corruption, Nigeria would have got 70 to 80 per cent of its problems solved. If corruption in the oil sector is addressed and halted, 80 per cent of our problems as a country would have been solved.
“I say this because all the corruption that we are talking about wouldn’t have been a big issue without the NNPC. We cannot shy away from it. But with the coming on board of people from the private sector, we will see a miracle.
“I have no doubt about what they can do there. If with the likes of Ibe Kachikwu, Exxon Mobil is doing well, he will also bring that experience to bear in managing our national oil corporation, and of course this will be in partnership with the private sector players that have been recruited to work with him.”
President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday evening fired the managing directors of the subsidiaries of the NNPC and retired 38 top management staff of the firm, trimming down their number from 122 to 83.
Buhari further allowed the firm to recruit 12 private sector players to its management cadre to help it jump-start a new business outlook to enhance its operational environment as a profit-driven business and wean the firm from its present civil service orientation.
The IPMAN president told our correspondent that the restructuring at the corporation was not a surprise because the oil sector accounts for about 80 per cent of Nigeria’s earnings.
Okoronkwo said, “The restructuring at the NNPC is expected because you cannot move this country forward without first looking at the oil industry and getting activities in that sector right. Oil accounts for over 80 per cent of our earnings. We can even call it a mono economy because virtually everybody depends on oil.”
He therefore called on the Federal Government to fix the country’s pipelines, stressing that the facilities were currently a major constraint impeding the smooth distribution of petroleum products produced at the rehabilitated refineries.
Although he admitted that he was not aware of the quantity of refined products at the various refineries and if they were enough to be sold in commercial quantity, he maintained that the refineries had started working.
“But if the refineries work and the pipelines to convey the refined products are not there, then, it is still a big problem,” Okoronkwo added.