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Saturday, July 25, 2015

Buhari to split NNPC into two; merge ICPC, EFCC



President Muhammadu Buhari has said his administration will be splitting the national oil company, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, into two successor entities.
The President, stated this in an interview with journalists in Washington DC during his recently concluded four-day visit to the United States, Saturday Punch reports.

The President explained that the decision would form one of the key steps of his reform of the country’s oil and gas sector.
There had been insinuations that Buhari would unbundle the NNPC into four companies but the President, in the Washington interview, said rather than breaking the NNPC into four companies, it would be divided into two – regulator and investment vehicle.
While one of the successor companies will be an independent regulator, the President said the second would operate as an investment vehicle for the country.
He said: “I am reforming the oil and gas sector, breaking up the NNPC into two parts – the first will become an independent regulator for the sector, while the second will act as an investment vehicle for the country.”

Buhari also hinted that there would be a new bid round for oil blocks in the country, adding that he favours transparent auction process.
“I will also end political control of the awarding of drilling and exploration rights by introducing a system of independent, transparent auctioning for licences,” the President said.


President Buhari, also disclosed that he would be merging the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission into one strong and more effective anti-graft agency.
He said: “Corruption is one of the top three issues facing Nigeria, along with insecurity and unemployment. We must act to kill corruption or corruption will kill Nigeria. I am determined to lead that fight. My government is already taking several steps to cut out the cancer of corruption that has been eating away at the state for so long.
“We are reorganising the existing plethora of anti-corruption bodies into single powerful agency that will have the focus, power and budget to clamp down on corruption at the federal and state levels.”


On the award of contracts, the President said ministers would no longer have power to award contracts while announcing the introduction of a new system of plea bargaining to encourage looters of the government money and oil thieves to return the people’s stolen commonwealth.
He said:“I have already acted to remove political control over awarding of contracts away from ministers who use them to get political favours and kickbacks.
“I will introduce a new system of plea bargain, that will allow those who have stolen assets and funds to return them – but if they do not take that opportunity we will pursue them through the courts.”

He insisted that his administration would not relent in asking foreign countries, including the US, to help in returning stolen funds that are sitting in private accounts abroad, but rightfully belonging to the people of Nigeria, lamenting that the country had become over-dependent on oil because of the incompetence and corruption of government that concentrated on “how best to steal oil revenues instead of how best to use our oil windfalls to invest in a modern, growing economy.”
“I will not be satisfied until the label ‘Made in Nigeria’ is as common globally, as the label ‘Made in China,’” he added.

[Punch]

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