20180423

FG Reforming NNPC For Transparency & Accountability

The Federal Government will reform the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to ensure that all revenues earned are accounted for.

Finance Minister Mrs. Kemi Adeosun said this yesterday. She spoke at a joint news conference with Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor Godwin Emefiele at the end of the 2018 International Monetary Fund/World Bank Spring Meetings in Washington D.C.

She said the government’s priority was to ensure that all earned revenues entered government coffers and were better managed.

The minister said: “Government will continue to efficiently and effectively manage costs and plug leakages. We must make sure that every money that is earned comes in. We will drive the process of improving governance.”

The reforms of state-owned enterprises, she said, would boost the country’s fiscal buffers, which will lead to a rise in the Excess Crude Account (ECA). The ECA, Mrs Adeosun said, was expected to rise now that crude oil prices have risen.

“Now that we have $72/per barrel oil price and $45/per barrel oil benchmark, we must begin to see ECA accumulation and to do that, we have to focus on the cost of state-owned enterprises. If every time the price of oil goes up, and the cost goes up, then there is no net gain,” she said.

Mrs Adesoun said her ministry would work closely with the NNPC. “In terms of what we are doing, even tomorrow (today), I am staying back because we are having a team from the NNPC coming in, and we have meetings with technology providers who will help us control some of those costs. We have to look into state- owned enterprises and look at their costs very, very closely. And as Chairman of the Federal Account Allocation Committee (FAAC), and on behalf of their owners and NNPC, we are going to be strengthening their governance,” she said.

“And the NNPC is working very closely with us. We sit down, and look at the numbers together. If we are not happy with the numbers, we ask more questions. I think in the past, NNPC will simply come and present a figure, now, we are questioning those figures. Why are we spending so much on this, and I think that is very, very important to us to take advantage of this period to really rebuild our buffers,” she said.

Mrs. Adeosun and Emefiele said the country’s positive growth outlook would be sustained.

The minister, who noted that the present growth outlook contrasted with the outlook in 2015, said inflation rate was slowing down while the foreign reserves were rising.