“NNPC LIMITED $3 BILLION LOAN WITHOUT CONCRETE INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION WOULD FRITTER AWAY: TIME FOR PUBLIC PROBE OF NNPCL” – NATIONAL OBSERVATORY
The recent procurement of a Three (3) Billion Dollars ‘Emergency Crude Repayment Loan from the Cairo, Egypt-based, global financial shark, African Export-Import Bank (Afrexim Bank) by the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation Limited, ostensibly to shore up support for the national currency and stabilise our Foreign Exchange Market exposes deep gaps in our corporate governance system and values. It calls into fore, dire necessity for overhaul of our political idiosyncrasies, imperatives for a paradigm shift socio-economic orientations and policy thrusts.
If we as a collective are suffering from induced drowse as a result of high dosage of a peculiar amnesia drug, we should be fully conscious that erstwhile Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Mr. Godwin Emefiele is having his days in the court answering for various accusations bordering on economic sabotage, while the CBN is carrying out forensic audit of the fiducial recklessness during the pendency of his helmsmanship of the apex bank. Most of the infractions which Emefiele is being investigated, are committed with active complacence if not complicit of these global financial institutions’ players. For instance, PMB gave a similar loan to shore up the Naira against Dollars without following due process, no approval by requisite bodies, without the knowledge of the Federal Executive Council, National Economic Council, or the National Assembly. This NNPC Ltd $3 Billion loan from Afrexim is gotten in the same ways and manners that CBN under Emefiele conducted its affairs – with utter disrespect to the constitution, disdain for the nation’s sovereignty and arrogant dis-interestedness in the plights of pulverised Nigerian citizens. The question on the lips of all sane Nigerians, is what is a private limited liability company, NNPCL doing getting a loan from a sovereign State? Is the NNPC Limited now the Central Bank of Nigeria?This loan does not just usurp the duties of the Central Bank, it is also conducted in veil of conspiratorial secrecy. A vexatiously notorious trait of the NNPC labyrinth.
All Nigerians, including CSOs, investigative journalists, and independent investigations are challenged to pierce the veil, expose the promoters, profiteers, and beneficiaries of the ubiquitous NNPC. The Corporation is derelicting in its corporate responsibilities to run a thriving business enterprise generating much needed foreign exchange revenues for the country, none of the four refineries in its profile produces a drop of Premium Motor Spirit (Petrol) for the country.
PUBLIC SCRUTINY OF NNPC OPERATIONS
All registered corporate firms submit annual audited accounts to their Annual General Meeting, AGM for thorough scrutiny and approvals. This is what Institutional and Public Probes are designed to achieve in public or quasi-public corporations like the NNPCL. Since the 1956 discovery of Crude Oil in Olobiri, Ogbia Local Government Area of Bayelsa State, it has become what has been generally tagged as the “Blessing/Curse” of the nation. This is mainly due to lack of transparency, accountability, and probity in the management of the resources.
The realities slapping us in the face as a nation is that the NNPC has been grossly unable, really incapacitated, to deliver palpable gains to Nigerians in recent time. It has become a burden, a scandalous hive for sharp practices, oil bunkering feeding armed militancy, feathering nests of reprobate, greedy elites, fuel subsidy scammers and all sorts of shady deals in favour of global financial institutions, transnational corporations but at the detriment of our national polity and suffering masses. We make bold to assert that NNPC-Afrexim $3 Billion Loan is nothing but a continuation of this gang-raping spree of our collective patrimony. It must be probed.
The Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC was established in April 1977, a merger of the National Oil Company and the Federal Ministry of Petroleum and Energy. It has since been the main source of revenue for the Federal Government but riddled with redolent sleaze and scammers’ schemes. It presently has about Three Thousand and Five Hundred (3,500) workforce that draws billions of Naira annual salaries and bogus entitlements yet refining no single drop of fuel for the nation as four refineries of the seventh (7th) Oil producing nations are not functioning. The vicious exploitation of crude oil in the Niger Delta has led to devastating environmental pollution and degradation of the region. This has accentuated the clarion calls for resource control, beginning with the agitation of the Ijaw nationalist minority rights campaigner, Isaac Jasper Adaka Boro, environmental rights activists, Kenule Saro-Wiwa, who was judicially murdered, and a host of Niger Delta resource control, armed militia and activists. Let us not forget that the intents to control the crude oil base of the control played critical role in the nation’s three years civil war.
The NNPC Limited was announced to the public with fanfare in July 2022 with Mele Kyale as the Group Managing Director. Its first significant notable activity is this Afrexim $3 Billion Loan. It is rather ludicrous that the said loan is not granted to kick start a new plan for petroleum production, it is not to address the moribund refineries, it is for financial speculations and round tripping – shore up Naira against Dollars! What exactly are the interests of the Grantors and Grantees of this loan? Neither in the interest of the people nor that of the nation!
The nation is groaning under the yoke imposed by cabals operating with covers of the NNPC as Petroleum Marketer, scamming the country of Billions of Naira as Fuel Subsidy. The same Independent Marketers who are merely surrogates of the NNPC Mafia have been holding the nation by the jugular with threats of enlisting new hike regime in the prices of petroleum products. Despite President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s good attention, expression of empathies on the agonising hardships Nigerians are experiencing, and assurance of dividends from the transformations by his economic policy reforms, the panacea opted for by Mele Kyari led NNPC Ltd is further piling phantom debt burdens on the nation.
As late, revered statesman, Chief Obafemi Awolowo warned on foreign loans and debts, “ ….. a nation that goes borrowing, goes sorrowing”. Kyari-led NNPC Ltd and the $3 Billion Afrexim Loan would compound Nigeria economic woes and crisis. We need urgent Public Debate and Probe of this questionable NNPCL-Afrexim Emergency Crude Repayment Loan now.
LOANS AND GRANTS WITHOUT PRODUCTIVITY IS FRAUD
Despite the huge human and material resources, natural mineral endowments of Nigeria, we are still a sprawling nation that is starving amidst plenty. Nigeria is the richest country in Africa having the highest GDP. We are not blessed with only crude oil, we have several untapped solid mineral deposits that are daily illegally scavenged by foreign corporations, financial institutions and proteges of governments. Our problem is never lack of resources or talents but leadership disabilities and lack of patriotic foresights. If we harness our abundant resources to increase our material productive base, there are adequate potentials for us to be co-drivers of global, industrial advancement.
Our ill-preparedness to address productivity is the bane of development of our national economy. National economy is equal to natural resources plus productivity, eliminating waste and corruption. Productivity begins with getting citizens economically engaged. The current price of petrol is not that high at N600 – N700 per litre considering relative international oil price.
The downward slides of the Naira will not be halted by voodoo economy of Foreign Exchange trading. It can only be checked by enhanced national productivity outputs. Subsidy Removal is not responsible for making Nigerians poorer. It is the failure of productivity.
We must stop the triumphant blaze of the dollarisation of our economy and subsisting de-industrialisation processes if we are committed to sustainable growth, development, and prosperity. If we take a cursory look back at history, we will find out that the exchange rate in 1980 was 80 Kobo to $1. Try and remember the number of manufacturing companies in those days, the products, goods and services we actually manufactured and exported. Now, we should critically interrogate how many of those companies or products exist today?
The answers should not blow in the winds. The task of re-fanning the embers of our national productivity index is our viable path out of contemporary economic wilderness. We have to discard the allurements of poisonous, phantom loans.
Omotaje Olawale Saint