Nigeria's President Dissolves State Oil Company Board


ABUJA, June 26 (Reuters) - Nigeria's new President Muhammadu Buhari dissolved the board of the state-owned Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) on Friday as a first step to cleaning up the oil industry in Africa's biggest economy.

Inaugurated on May 29, Buhari came into power on an anti-corruption platform and a pledge to make the oil sector more transparent. Oil represents 80 percent of the government's revenues but the slide in crude prices since last year has left it struggling to pay its bills.

"The president has said he will clean up the oil sector. That is the beginning of the clean up," Buhari's spokesman, Femi Adesina, said.

The government may be losing money through opaque contracts in which crude oil worth billions of dollars is given to traders in exchange for refined imports, mainly gasoline, international and domestic watchdogs have said.

The lower house of parliament decided on Wednesday to set up a committee to investigate whether the government had been short-changed by the state oil company scheme to swap crude for refined products.

"You can't possibly have the same board in place while the place is being investigated and with the intention to change the way things are being done there," said Adesina.

Nigeria's anti-corruption agency has investigated various oil scandals in the past, namely a fuel subsidy fraud costing the government $6.8 billion between 2009-2011. But due to a lack of political will, only a handful were prosecuted.

"It's the country's cash cow. It has a bright future. It's just that transparency and accountability have to be introduced into how it operates and this is the beginning of that process," Adesina said.

(Additional reporting by Alexis Akwagyiram; Editing by David Clarke)

Copyright 2016 Thomson Reuters. Click for Restrictions.


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Stephen Forster | Jun. 27, 2015
This is why he was elected

Maxwell Odusina | Jun. 27, 2015
For every moment in history of Nigeria, there are things that should happen. Dissolving the board of NNPC is one thing that should have happened long before now. The cabal are the board of Directors of the organization. With billions of dollar missing in the transaction of the organization it simply means the directors are meant to milk the country dry of wealth belonging to all. However, the new appointees should be given the mandate to declare asset before assume office and hold accountable for any mis-management that may happen. Before making appointment, the FG should carry out an analysis of RCPS a root cause problem solving forum with few people in attendance to maximize the potentials of making Nigeria economy bounce back to her feet. Looking ahead, the dissolve board were in position for years with four of the refinery down not producing refined product as designed yet the board could award contract worth billion of dollars which they are part of the scandals of different looted funds. They have done the might they could and I personally wish them good farewell in their future lives.

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