Sunday, 6 May 2012

NNPC spends N1.35bn annually on 36 employees

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation has been spending N1.35bn annually on 36 of its employees redeployed to the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board.
This much was discovered and made known by the Presidential Committee on Restructuring and Rationalisation of Federal Government Parastatals, Commissions and Agencies in its report.

Apart from the fuel subsidy issue, the NCDMB, which was established on April 22, 2010, came under serious scrutiny from the members of the Stephen Oronsaye Committee.

A breakdown of the figure by the committee showed that each of the 36 NNPC officials deployed in the new board received on the average N37m per annum.

The committee noted that the figure “is very high and cannot be supported when the basic salary per annum in the public sector is N216,000.”
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The committee has also listed the Petroleum Products Pricing and Regulatory Agency and the Petroleum Equalisation Funds among agencies that should lose their independent status.

According to the 660-page report exclusively obtained by SATURDAY PUNCH, the committee, led by a former Head of Service (Oronsaye), recommended a merger of the PPPRA with the PEF as an antidote to the fraud in fuel importation and distribution in the country.

Oronsaye and his colleagues in the committee recommended that the PPPRA and PEF be collapsed into a single department under the supervision of the Ministry of Petroleum Resources.

In recommending the merger of some of the core agencies in the nation’s corruption-ridden oil industry, the committee said, “The PPPRA and the PEF be merged into a single department in the Ministry of Petroleum Resources; and there should be full automation of the bridging process of distribution of petroleum products to eliminate abuse.”

The Committee stated that the statutory functions of the PEF could be carried out as a department in the petroleum ministry.

The report stated that the PPPRA and PEF perform functions that have a cause and effect relationship, which makes it necessary for an alignment of functions for a better efficient service delivery.

“The committee believes that the performance of the functions of the agencies does not need a complicated apparatus in the form of two parastatals and their boards.

“Their collapse into a single department in the Ministry of Petroleum Resources would reduce the widely reported financial and procedural abuse in the oil sector.

“The need will therefore arise to fully automate the bridging process of the distribution of petroleum products to eliminate abuses.”

In arriving at its decision, the committee stated that the 26-member board of the PPPRA is rather unwieldy.

The committee members argued that PPPRA would cease to exist with the phased removal of fuel subsidy in the country and with the expected enactment of the Petroleum Act.

Oronsaye and the members of his committee made serious observations about the administration of the NNPC.

According to the committee, the NNPC has been maintaining a workforce considered inimical to the nation’s economy.

The committee put the workforce of the corporation at 9,765 out of which 1,386, 7,331 and 1,048 are management, senior, and junior staff respectively.

It was also the observation of the committee that “the NNPC structure is unwieldy in terms of the size of its workforce and this constitutes a big drain on government resources.”

The committee observed that the NNPC is violating a constitutional stipulation, which forbids a minister to be chairman of a parastatal under them and recommended that an independent chairman be appointed to head the governing board by the President in accordance with “extant Federal Government Guidelines on the Administration of Federal Government Parastatals.”

The committee recommended a periodic management audit of the corporation.

It was further observed that the NCDMB and the Petroleum Technology Development Trust Fund were performing similar functions of training qualified Nigerians for placement in the oil and gas sector of the economy, which the committee said could have been performed by a single agency.

The report said, “The committee further observed similarities in the functions of the NCDMB and the Petroleum Technology Development Trust Fund.

“While the NCDMB focuses on the initiation, design and implementation of effective indigenous research and development capacity for Nigeria’s oil and gas and solid minerals industry, and while the core functions performed by the two bodies could be performed by one agency, the committee is of the view that the bodies – the PTDF and the NCDMB – should be merged to ensure greater synergy and have a one-stop shop for training and placement of competent Nigerians in the oil and gas sector.”

The committee, therefore, recommended that the PTDF be subsumed in the NCDMB as a way of ensuring an effective coordination in the training and placement of competent Nigerians in the oil sector.

It recommended the amendment of the NCDMB law to enable it to take over the PTDF.

The Oronsaye Committee further recommended the scrapping of 38 agencies, the merger of 52 others in addition to the reversion of the status of 14 agencies to departments in ministries.

It recommended the management audit of 89 agencies and the capturing of the biometric data of members of staff.

It is also part of the recommendations of the committee that the government shou ld stop the funding of certain agencies that are expected to be self-sustaining.

On the issue of the scourge of corruption in the country, the committee gave some insight into its recommendations for the merger of the anti-graft agencies in the country.

The committee recommended the merger of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission and the Code of Conduct Bureau, because of the similarity of functions performed by the agencies.

The committee recommended the establishment of an independent anti-corruption agency in place of the EFCC, ICPC and CCB.

“The Code of Conduct Bureau should be merged with the ICPC and EFCC into a strengthened parastatal and that the law should accord it independence and autonomy,” the report stated.

It is part of the recommendations that the Code of Conduct Tribunal be renamed the Anti-Corruption Tribunal, entrusted with the sole responsibility of handling cases referred to it by the proposed anti-corruption body.

The committee stated that the recommended Anti-Corruption Tribunal should be “granted the status of a Court of Superior Records.”

Also recommended is the establishment of strong departments in the proposed anti-corruption agency. These include prosecution, investigation, prevention (advocacy) and asset declaration/forfeiture.

It was recommended that the Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit be made an autonomous body now domiciled in the EFCC.

The committee observed that the recommendations involving the anti-corruption agencies and the special tribunal for corruption would take a strenuous constitutional amendment, which they agreed, was worth the stress. SATURDAY PUNCH

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