Excluding NNPC from provisions of Procurement Act’ll fuel corruption-ANEEJ

The Africa Network for Environment & Economic Justice, ANEEJ, has said that the plan to exclude the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, from being subject to the provisions of the Fiscal Responsibility and the
Procurement Acts is unacceptable as it will defeat the primary purpose for a call on reforms in the oil and gas sectors of Nigeria.

In a statement, ANEEJ Executive Director, the Rev David Ugolor said that even though the National Assembly had worked really hard to fine-tune aspects of the PIB bill prior to its assent by the president, the attempt as reported in the press to ‘insulate the Nigeria Petroleum Company from bureaucratic draw-backs’, will be a setback for the entire process.

“We are concerned that that plan will promote impunity and reinforce the concrete blocks built around corruption in the oil and gas sector. Instead of excluding the NNPC from being subject to the Fiscal Responsibility and Procurement Acts, the National Assembly must ensure that all critical aspects of the bill pass through the rigorous conditions imposed by the Fiscal Responsibility and procurement laws”, the Rev Ugolor said.

After it was proposed and sent to the National Assembly, the Petroleum Industry Bill has passed through the thick and the thin with the prospect that key constituents meant to safeguard the spirit and letters of its formulators are being whittled down considerably.

“ANEEJ verily believes that fears being expressed that exclusion of the NNPC from being subject to the Procurement Act and Fiscal Responsibility Act under Clause 102 would introduce recklessness in the sector are valid.

“To erase these fears and stem abuse, the NNPC must be subject to the provisions of our extant laws. These laws engender fiscal discipline, promote transparency and accountability, and are meant to excise Nigeria from the opacity which has characterized the operations of Nigeria’s oil and gas sectors over the years”, the Rev Ugolor said in the statement.