OrderPaperToday – A Senate joint Committee on Thursday defended and exonerated the Minister of State for Petroleum, Mr. Ibe Kachikwu, of breaching the law in ‘unbundling’ the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
Chairman of the joint committee, Sen. Tayo Alasoadura, told newsmen after a closed door session with Kachikwu that fallen oil prices and the need to cut the losses of the corporation necessitated the restructuring of NNPC.
The joint panel comprises senate committees on Petroleum (Upstream); Petroleum (Downstream); and Gas.
Alasoadura who a day before in his letter of summon to the minister expressed shock at the sudden restructuring of the NNPC without national assembly approval, said that his committee was satisfied with the explanations offered by Kachikwu.
The senator said Kachikwu was only carrying out an internal restructuring to better position the corporation to serve Nigerians better as it will help cut losses experienced by the corporation in recent times.
He said: “He is working in the best interest of Nigeria. Now that the price of oil is going down, if we do not restructure we might run into more problems as a country. Why we invited him was to be sure the law was not contravened and we are convinced.
“From figures made available to us, NNPC in recent times lost about N30 billion monthly but because of the restructuring it lost only N3 billion last month. The minister assured that the restructuring when completed will help to end any form of loss.
“The only problem we had was that we were not consulted and the Minister of State adequately apologized.”
Earlier before journalists were excused out of the meeting, Kachikwu told the senators he was only creating divisions that would allow for optimum performance and not unbundling the corporation.
He said out the restructuring would help professionals who were hitherto under-utilized to make adequate use of their talents and experiences.