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When an oil man is beckoned to repair roads

“You can choose not to be interested in politics, but you can’t choose to be unaffected by it.” 

—Penny Wong


By Daniel Kanu


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Again, the Group Managing Director (GMD) of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC),  Mallam Mele Kolo Kyari, and the organization he directs  is in the news again. This time, the NNPC has an added responsibility. The company is to reconstruct 21 federal roads across the country.

The Federal Executive Council (FEC) presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, on Wednesday authorised the corporation to undertake the task.

Briefing State House Correspondents at the end of the council meeting, the Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, disclosed that the selected 21 roads are 1,804.6 kilometres.

The fund which will cover the 21 roads spread across the six geo-political zones in the country was a strategic intervention under the Federal Government Road Infrastructure and Refreshment Tax Credit Scheme, Fashola said.

According to him, this is in line with Executive Order No. 007 of 2019 cited as the Companies Income Tax Order, 2019 (“EO7 of 2019” or “the Scheme”), signed by President Muhammadu Buhari.

The Minister explained that the Executive Order 7, allows the private sector to deploy in advance the taxes they would pay for infrastructure development.

Going by the records, Dangote Group was the first to take advantage of the EO7 of 2019 to fix the Obajana-Kabba road from its income tax.

Recall that the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) had called for a nationwide strike recently to protest against the poor state of roads in the country, saying that the situation endangers the lives of drivers.

NUPENG may have listened to wise counsel as it suspended the strike that was to hold on October 11, and embraced dialogue after the NNPC warned that the strike could disrupt fuel supplies, as well as other benefits.

There are fellers that the push by the NUPENG and other stakeholders in the petroleum sector may have contributed in quickening the decision to commit NNPC into this arduous task.

Arguably, most Nigerians have continued to hail the leadership of Kyari over the new NNPC direction.

On assumption of office, Kyari had inherited an NNPC that was still struggling to shake off the negative image of a national oil company where nothing works. But today, he seems to have changed that image with his commendable record of achievements.

Established on April 1, 1977 as Nigeria’s national oil company, the NNPC has been living in the dark shadows of a cesspool of monumental corruption and opacity and, therefore, lagged behind its peers in other climes as nothing was done properly and efficiently to the benefit of its shareholders, which are the Nigerian people.

Kyari, perhaps knew NNPC needed a new vista and a break away from its decadent past and, therefore, swung into action. Today, a lot of industry watchers say he is soldiering on the turf with great courage and producing positive results.

It is for this reasons, that the stakeholders are optimistic that he would deliver the goods.

However, activist and legal expert, Comrade Femi Aborishade, is still apprehensive that the NNPC, particularly under the latest Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) provision may not be fair to all concerned.

 He told Sunday Sun at a workshop organised by Friedrich Ebert Stiftung in Lagos that the Labour movement particularly, NUPENG and PENGASSAN, have a duty to study the PIA very closely as it contains some nebulous provisions, with the unbundling of the NNPC.

Aborishade is unsure that NNPC under Kyari will open up its systems to public scrutiny.

Kyari is said to have set achievable goals, priorities, performance standards and criteria, by developing suitable governance structures for its strategic business units, and the entrenchment of team-spirit, work ethic and collaboration with all key stakeholders to achieve set corporate goals.

Kyari has also shown quality leadership in other critical areas such as in the diversification of NNPC portfolio, completion of power projects recorded, sustaining average oil output, timely remittance of oil revenues to FAAC, AKK pipeline projects, highest oil output despite challenges and above all breaking the 43-year-old jinx of the NNPC audited accounts not returning profit.

It is obvious that expectations are high on Kyari on whether the NNPC under his watch will deliver the 21 roads assigned to the corporation.

It would be recalled that Kyari had on Saturday, October 16, clinched the prestigious The Sun Man of the Year 2020 Awards, a tacit confirmation of the high administrative acumen of the NNPC boss. Thus, it is believed that the NNPC will not fail to deliver on the new road assignment.

Kyari was born on January 8, 1965 in Maiduguri, Borno State. He attended the Government Community Secondary School Biu in Borno State between 1977 and 1982. In 1987, he obtained his Bachelor of Science (B.Sc) in geology and earth science from the University of Maiduguri.

The geologist and crude oil marketer is the 19th Group Managing Director (GMD) of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).

Prior to his appointment, as the corporation’s GMD, Kyari was the Group General Manager in charge of the Crude Oil Marketing Department (COMD).  He has worked with the NNPC and the Nigerian oil and gas industry for over 33 years.

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2021-10-30 22:27:13

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