By Bassey Udo
The fortunes of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC) under the leadership of the Group Managing Director/ Chief Executive Officer, Mele Kyari, have been transformed from a loss-making position into a profitable venture, the Public Policy Research & Analysis Centre (PPRAC) has said.
The Centre made the observation at the ceremony to confer its “2020 Zik Prize for Public Service Leadership’’ for exemplary leadership on Kyari at the weekend in Lagos.
Speaking on behalf of the Centre, Chief Mac Wabara said Kyari was recognized with the award for his distinguishing leadership role and sterling achievements since he assumed office as the GMD of NNPC in 2009.
Wabara said Kyari’s achievements even in the recent difficult years were all evident through the various transparency and accountability reform policies he initiated at the Corporation prior to the recent transition to a limited liability company under the new Petroleum Industry Act (PIA).
“Mele Kyari continues to initiate policies that seamlessly transformed NNPC operations, including deepening domestic gas utilization in the country, rehabilitation of the nation’s four refineries to bring to an end the arbitrage through the importation of petroleum products, and a regime of public disclosure of NNPC accounts, the first in NNPC’s 44 years of existence, as a result of a deliberate policy of transparency and accountability,” Wabara said.
He said Kyari’s greatest achievement was mobilizing his management at NNPC to pursue an agenda that led to the turnaround of the fortunes of the NNPC, from a position loss into a profit-making entity.
“Under Kyari’s watch, the NNPC was able to declare a profit after tax of over N287 billion in 2020 after a series of losses over the years, particularly reducing from over N803 billion in 2018 to N1.7 billion in 2019. This is unprecedented in the history of the NNPC,” Wabara observed.
Beyond that, he said Kyari also consistently played a huge role in the enactment of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA), which was virtually stuck at the National Assembly for almost 20 years.
He said with the coming of the new regulatory framework and legislation for the petroleum industry, the NNPC has now been well-positioned to operate efficiently and compete among its global peers as a commercially oriented profit-making entity.
Speaking after the conferment of the award on him, Kyari said in the last two years, the NNPC carried out the automation of its processes and systems to significantly remove human interface in most of its operations.
Also, he said the company carried out various initiatives to cut its costs of operations and focused on delivering value to Nigerians, in line with his management vision espoused under its Transparency, Accountability & Performance Excellence (TAPE) agenda.
The recent enactment of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) has imposed huge responsibility on the NNPC to be more transparent and accountable by doing things differently and be much more accountable to the over 200 million Nigerians who are its shareholders.
The passage of the PIA followed President Muhammadu Buhari’s assent into law of the approved draft Petroleum Industry Billi (PIB) by the National Assembly after almost 20 years.
Kyari said the Zik Leadership award would spur him and his management team to work harder towards becoming an International National Oil Company that is at par with its global peers.
Other recipients of the prestigious Zik Leadership Award for various achievements included the Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu; Nasarawa State Governor, Abdullahi Sule; former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Pius Anyim; Minister of State for Health, Olorunimbe Mamora; Director-General and CEO of the Nigerian Maritime and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Bashir Jamo and MD/CEO of the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA), Uche Orji.
The conferment of the awards on the recipients was witnessed by the Emir of Kano, Aminu Ado Bayero; Emir of Lafia, Justice Sidi Bage (rtd) and several other dignitaries.
Established in 1994 by the PPRAC and now in its 26th edition, the organizers said the Zik Prize in Leadership is aimed at highlighting Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe’s legacy of patriotic fervor and nationalist vision of leadership.