Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Malam Mele Kyari, has said that President Muhammadu Buhari never interfered in the operations of the Corporation.
Kyari disclosed this at a media interaction with National Association of Energy Correspondents in Abuja, on Friday.
He said that the corporation had the full support of the president to operate effectively for the growth of the industry,
” I can tell you that the privilege we have today in this company of having unfettered control without any distraction or interference to make decisions and be accountable and responsible for our decisions has never happened until this government.
” I can tell you this because I have been around for 29 years and have worked closely with top management of the NNPC for about 15 years.
” This is the only president who has never asked NNPC to do something.
“I have the personal privilege to have access to Mr. President, to his private audience and I can tell you that under no circumstances has he controlled what we want to do.
“He only wants to know and be sure that what we are doing is in the best interest of the country,” he said
He said that migrating to the deregulation of the downstream oil sector was a huge challenge and difficult decision for the president as he understood the pain it would put the ordinary Nigerian through.
According to him, the president supported the decision because government can no longer afford subsidy with harsh economic impact of COVID-19.
The GMD said that the corporation’s new focus was on gas development as the most resilient source of energy in the energy transition process.
” The only oil and gas that survived during the COVID-19 with minimal negative change was gas. Gas will help the country out of its major challenge of electricity.
” The biggest challenge we have here is to take electricity to homes, industries and to use the resources we have to create that energy this country needs.
” Today for two reasons we are not getting electricity because the production is low and we are not able to transmit it to those who need it.
” That means there is bottle neck in transmission and distribution system,” he said
He said that gas had a lot to offer as it created work and economy that did not exist today noting that it could create industry with many other benefits.
Kyari maintained that although Nigeria was known as an oil country, it is more a gas nation than oil.
He assured that the corporation would continue to work to ensure full gas development in the country for economic growth.
Kyari also says he is optimistic that the corporation will declare dividends in 2020 in spite of the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
He said: “Our vision is that NNPC will become a company of excellence and declare dividends to Nigerians and shareholders.
“We are optimistic that at the end of 2020, NNPC will declare dividends to Nigerians in spite of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Kyari said that accountability and transparency were key to turning NNPC into an efficient and profit-oriented enterprise.
He said this was what informed the decision of the corporation to publish its operational and financial reports monthly.
Kyari said: “NNPC has never published its audited financial statement in 43 years. We came and started doing that and released the 2018 financial statement which showed that NNPC lost N803 billion.
“We were not afraid of doing that and there were a lot of criticisms that we lost money in refinery operations and pipeline business.
“We went ahead and published the 2019 audited report and was able to learn and cut cost and became more efficient.
“There is no company in the country which has cut its losses within one financial year by N800 billion.
“That means we reduced 97 per cent of our losses by cutting our cost and improving our efficiency.”
He said that the NNPC was able to maintain its obligations to the Federation Account for seven months without fail in spite of the huge impact of the coronavirus on the oil and gas industry.