Peace Obi

The new Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mallam Mele Kolo Kyari, has vowed to reverse the trend of petroleum products importation in the country by rehabilitating the existing refineries and encouraging private sector investment in the refineries sub-sector.  

Kyari made the pledge on Monday at a valedictory session for the former Group Managing Director, Dr Maikanti Baru, where Mallam Kyari took over the reins of management as the 19th GMD of the corporation.

He said, “We must end the trend of fuel importation as an oil producing country. We will deliver on the rehabilitation of the four refineries within the life of this administration and support the private sector to build refineries.

We will support the Dangote refinery to come on stream on schedule. We will transform Nigeria into a net exporter of petroleum products by 2023”, Kyari stated in his address at the occasion.

He said the age-long Federal Government’s target of raising crude oil production and reserves to 3million barrels per day and 40billion barrels respectively was possible and that he would galvanise the corporation to achieve it by 2023.

Kyari, however, said, “Today, we are still grappling with the reality that this company did not deliver what it could have delivered. In the last three years, we have made significant strides and I’m proud to say that I’m part of the many decisions that led to this.”

He said international oil companies operating in the country must be ready to do business and make a moderate or reasonable profit.

“For the executives of international oil companies, we will work with you and there are two things we have to do with you, which are to grow production and reserves, and also it should be beneficial to all. We’re going to make it win-win,” he added.

The new NNPC boss also warned operators and stakeholders in the industry not to give members of his family gifts, as this would have no influence on him.

Kyari, who spoke after receiving the mantle of leadership from Baru, said he never prayed to head the oil firm, and stressed that he would strive to further curb corruption in the NNPC.

He said, “I’m not sure I’m the best. I don’t believe that, because there are better people here. I only have a first degree. And I know that in this corporation you have at least 40 people with PhD. But that tells you that leadership comes in two ways — you earn it and there is always a divine part of it.”

On his plans to end corruption, he said, “We are going to work with the EFCC (Economic and Financial Crimes Commission) to make sure that we take out corruption in our system. Gone are the days where we see NNPC as a very opaque institution.

“We have a responsibility to declare what we do to the citizens of this country. It is their right, not favour. So, we will work with the press and be transparent to all.”

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