By ABUBAKAR IBRAHIM, Abuja
The probing of the NNPC crude swap deal is aimed at repositioning the corporation and not a witch-hunt effort targeted at anyone Speaker of the House of Representatives, Honourable Yakubu Dogara has said.
He expressed this while speaking at public hearing by the ad-hoc committee to forensically investigate the NNPC/PPMC/Oil swap deals on Tuesday.
“It is my belief that the committee’s work and final recommendations will be invaluable tool towards providing the sector the right remedy we need to move it forward. Our goal here is not to witch-hunt, no! It is essentially a diagnostic review with the aim of repositioning the oil sector to perform its role as a major primer of the nation’s development.
He said that the issue of transparency in the management of the oil sector considering its significance to the economy of Nigeria is at the very heart of our Nation’s development challenge, especially at this time of dwindling revenue resulting from the continued drop in oil prices.
“As at yesterday, Oil, I understand, was trading at $28 dollar from about $114 it traded as at September, 2015. You don’t have to be an economist to observe that if we do not improve on the management of available resources and effective utilization of oil/petroleum resources to drive the economy, our developmental aspirations will continue to emaciate.
“It is in recognition of this pivotal role which the oil sector plays in aiding development that the present House of Representatives decided to place enormous emphasis on the improvement of the sector especially, and to insist on the transparent, professional, and efficient management of all resources. This is the only way, the Change of Agenda of this administration can be actualize,” he emphasized.
The Speaker explained that as noted in the motion moved by Hon. Michael Enyong, the precursor of this investigation, there is a cleavage between the public investment that has been made in the oil sector and the returns Nigerians have enjoyed from the sector between 2010 to date. The essence of this investigation is to expose abuses and losses to the Nigerian nation, with a view to revitalize the sector to make it more efficient and transparency driven.
“It is hard to put in words the level of frustration Nigerians have had to face with the NNPC and indeed the oil industry; the impact of this on the wider economy and the level of inefficiency in the entire energy value chain. We have an opportunity now to right the wrongs of the past. It starts from our doing a thorough job of this assignment.
“This administration has made the delivery of democratic dividends through zero tolerance of corruption, youth employment, the revamping of the economy and provision of social welfare palliatives, some of its cardinal objectives.
Dogara assured that if Nigerians could pause to imagine for one moment what the effect of a vibrant oil sector driven by efficiency and innovation, would mean to the country’s energy sector, power, textile industry, rice mills, the manufacturing start-ups, assembly plants, manufacturing, agribusiness development in general, aviation, communication, cost of doing business, insecurity, service delivery, technology adoption, life expectancy of Nigerians both in the rural and urban areas, SMEs and unemployment, etc. “The implications and ramifications are immense, indeed they are enormous. Therefore, we cannot afford to fail, Nigerians will not afford half measures,” he added.