NNPC may emerge sole petroleum products importer

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Corporation pays 96 managers not working for five months
• Confusion over restructuring
There are indications that major and independent marketers may be excluded from petroleum products import in the second quarter.

The Guardian learnt that this is due to the failure of the marketers to deliver the 22 percent allocation granted to them which is causing the current scarcity of petrol in the country.

Consequently, the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) may allocate 100 percent of petroleum products import to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) in the second quarter.

It was gathered that the PPPRA is expected to release the list for the second quarter import as well as review the N86.50 per litre of petrol as prescribed by the price modulation regime. Even within the NNPC itself, the relocation of petrol importation from commercial to Crude Oil Marketing Department (COMD) has further exacerbated the importation bottlenecks.

Meanwhile, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, is slated to meet the new appointees to brief them on what their duties would be this morning at the NNPC Towers.

It was not clear as at yesterday whether the 96 senior managers at the Petroleum Products Marketing Company (PPMC) who were recalled from their various duty posts since October last year would be posted alongside the new appointees.

One of the affected senior managers told The Guardian yesterday that there had not been major labour unrest since they were rendered redundant because their salaries and other entitlements had been paid up to date even when they had not worked in the last five months.

He said: “We have been stranded since last October when the management summoned all the senior managers to report to the headquarters from their various stations. There has been no agitation as such because our entitlements have been paid up to date even though we have not worked since last October. We believe that all of us would be posted to any of the companies that have been created within the corporation.”

A source close to how importation of petrol works in the corporation said: “Before now, the importation of petroleum products was done by the commercials, but since it was moved to COMD, there has been delay in arrival. The people in the COMD most times do not realise the urgency needed when importing products. The way it works is that the COMD sells crude oil, then buys refined products and this sometimes takes time which is causing the delay.”

Again, there were anxieties within the corporation in the early hours of last Friday when workers read the postings on a newspaper website online.

The Guardian also learnt that none of the employees affected by the massive reshuffles announced last Thursday night was briefed about the postings until when they got to the Amphitheater Hall where Kachikwu unveiled the development on Friday morning.

This development jolted staffers as well as industry operators as they feel the frequent changes in the NNPC is a show of inconsistency in policy direction under Kachikwu who is also the Group Managing Director of the NNPC.

On August 11, 2015, Kachikwu effected changes that brought in four group executive directors, and reduced top management from 122 to 83.

Kachikwu argued then that the changes were in line with the Federal Government’s aspiration to transform the corporation into a lean, efficient, business-focused, transparent and accountable national oil company in keeping with international best practices.

Only 213 days later, Kachikwu has again swept the top management aside and brought back the hitherto dismantled seven directorates.

In the never-ending restructuring of the NNPC, the new seven directorates include Upstream, Downstream, Refineries, Gas and Power, Ventures, Finance and Accounts and Corporate Services.

What appears to confuse industry watchers even more is the addition of Chief Operating Officers (COOs) to the Group Executive Directors (GEDs) nomenclature. Under the new arrangement, the Group General Managers (GGMs) Strategy and Execution are expected to support the GEDs/COOs.

There appears to be more confusion in the downstream sector where Esther Nnamdi-Ogbue has now been moved to retails as managing director, following the scraping of the Petroleum Products Marketing Company (PPMC).

While stating that the unions are not against reformation of the corporation, the oil sector unions in the NNPC stressed that the recent restructuring has been shrouded in secrecy for a long period without involving or carrying any of the stakeholders along.

Speaking on the frequent changes at the corporation, the NNPC Group Chairman, NUPENG, Odudu Udofia, told The Guardian that the reduction of the directorates from seven to four in the first rejig was applauded because it was hinged on cost reduction and effectiveness. He then wondered why the increase from four to the same seven this time around.

Besides, he hinted that existing condition of service for workers that are already working in the existing directorate who may be transferred to the newly subsets have not been agreed upon by the labour unions and government before the announcement of the re-organization.

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