The new Group Managing Director (GMD) of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) Mallam Mele Kolo Kyari yesterday assumed office setting targets that included fixing all the country's refineries before 2023 when President Muhammadu Buhari would leave office.
Speaking after a ceremonial handover from his predecessor Dr. Maikanti Baru in Abuja, Kyari said the corporation under his watch would focus on delivering the expectations of every Nigerian in terms of availability of petroleum products.
At the event which also had in attendance the acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Mr. Ibrahim Magu, Kyari also promised to run the national oil firm in the most transparent and corrupt-free manner that will benefit every Nigerian.
He said he will expand the frontiers of engagement with stakeholders particularly the National Assembly, state governments and the global transparency community like the Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (EITI) and the Nigeria EITI (NEITI).
The new GMD, who also promised to be accountable to the public, however, warned that he would not guarantee that all data of the NNPC would be publicly available.
"There are data that you cannot publish, I have always said this to our colleagues in the Open Government Partnership (OGP) and EITI we will not disclose every data. There are data that are of commercial value. Sometimes institutions ask us to disclose every data that we have. I am sure it is fair to say that we cannot disclose every data," Kyari said.
Speaking on the refineries, the GMD said it was sad that despite being an oil producing country with four refineries, Nigeria continues to import sometimes 100 per cent of its petroleum product requirements.
"We will make sure that within the life of this administration, before Baba's tenure (President Muhammadu Buhari) ends in 2023, we will deliver on the four refineries. And we will do more than that. We will encourage private refineries particularly the Dangote refinery which can be the game changer for all of us," he said.
He said by having the four refineries functional by 2023 and with the Dangote refinery running as well as other refining initiatives, by the time President Buhari leaves, "this country must be a net exporter of petroleum products."
Daily Trust reports that in 2015 when Dr. Ibe Kachikwu took office as GMD of the NNPC he set December 2016 deadline for the refineries to perform above average.
This did not happen as all the refineries struggled to remain afloat and were unable to churn out products in significant quantities.
Kachikwu as Minister of State for Petroleum Resources and Chair of the NNPC board, after setting in 2017, December 2019 deadline for the plants to perform optimally, only recently said the target will no longer materialise by 2019.
Earlier in his valedictory speech, Dr. Baru said he had done his best in over 1,099 days he was in office to put the corporation in the path of recovery, then to sustainable growth.
Commenting on the new GMD, Baru said: " I say without exaggeration that Mallam Mele Kolo Kyari and his team are the most capable and caring leaders that will take NNPC to greater heights."