…Buhari’s “Next Level’’ agenda translated into reality – seamless petroleum products supply
The appointment of Malam Mele Kyari as the Group Managing Director of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) by President Muhammadu Buhari on July 7, 2019 was greeted with a lot of misgivings by Nigerians who have always seen the state-run company from the vista or perspective of a poor-managed multi-billion naira enterprise.
Nigerians were also disinterested in who becomes the CEO of NNPC because of several decades of disruption in the supply of petroleum products particularly the Premium Motor Spirit (petrol) during Christmas and New Year as an annual national ritual.
The question on the lips of Nigerians was, “Will the new appointee be able to tame the perennial petrol scarcity particularly during festivities?’’ Nigerians have resigned to fate to spend Christmas and the New Year at filling stations in search of the God-given abundant commodity.
But as soon as Kyari came on board as the 19th GMD, who has been in the system for long, he immediately looked inward and unveiled his well-thought out agenda for the NNPC as part of the Mr President’s “Next Level’’ national agenda.
Kyari, according to Wikipedia, a 1987 graduate of Geology and Earth Science from University of Maiduguri, joined the corporation in 1991 and rose to Group General Manager, Crude Oil Marketing Division.
His mission and vision statement was clear and unmistakable: At his maiden Town Hall meeting with staff of the corporation at the NNPC Towers, Abuja, Kyari described the corporation as the main enabler of the Nigerian economy which required urgent entrenchment of “processes to ensure steady production growth and assured profitability across all tiers of the industry’’.
With a cast-iron assurance, he said: “The new management will continue with the current efforts to revamp downstream infrastructure to ensure 90 percent pipeline availability, automation of processes in product distribution system, and growth in NNPC Retail’s market share to 30 per cent.
“I charge the staff to support the management to deliver on all the objectives and brace up for greater challenges ahead.
“As the main enabler of the Nigerian economy, the NNPC must entrench processes to ensure steady production growth and assured profitability across all tiers of the industry.’’
The highpoint of the meeting was the presentation of his agenda entitled Roadmap to Global Excellence which encapsulates the strategic focus of his management.
Under the roadmap, NNPC operations under the new management would be anchored on Transparency, Accountability and Performance Excellence (TAPE).
Explaining that the Transparency component of the agenda was aimed at maintaining positive image, share values of integrity and transparency to all stakeholders, the Accountability leg of the campaign would assure compliance with business ethics, policies, regulations and accountability to all stakeholders.
On the two-pronged items of Performance and Excellence, Kyari said the idea was to entrench a high level of efficiency anchored on efficient implementation of business processes which would also emplace an appropriate reward system for exceptional performance among the workforce.
In accomplishing the set out tasks and goals, he restated his commitment to drive the positive changes and solving business challenges that had bedeviled the corporation for years using internal talents. He was not going to Afghanistan to go and think out solutions, but of course, home-grown strategies and existing manpower.
Weeks after he took office witnessed massive redeployment and changes in the management as well as deployment of staff to critical areas of their expertise.
He says the corporation is committed to using internal talents clustered according to their passion, creativity and innovative inclinations to co –create in house solutions to business challenges.
He specifically name –checked the “Operation White” initiative aimed at entrenching energy security and deepening the drive for transparency in petroleum products supply and distribution as a novel initiative driven by young and innovative talents within the corporation.
Big data, Predictive analytics, Artificial Intelligence and agile work practices will be deployed in repositioning the corporation on its journey to global excellence, the NNPC helmsman posits.
A litmus test of his promise and the workability of his agenda came in December 2019 when Nigerians and foreigners celebrated Christmas and the New Year without the traditional long queues at filling stations owing to short supply or moves to raise pump price.
Unlike in the past years particularly in 2017 experience described as the worst fuel crisis in the country in recent history, petrol users in Nigeria have for two months faced an unending scarcity and price hike of the commodity at filling stations across the country with a damning report from Nigerians that the NNPC seemed to be bereft of ideas and immediate solutions.
The situation lingered in spite of promises by the then Minister of State for Petroleum, Dr Ibe Kachikwu, and the ex-NNPC GMD, Dr Maikanti Baru and other key officials of “inexhaustible’’ stock of petroleum products.
Embarrassingly, a committee set up by President Buhari and headed by Kachiwku failed to put an end to the crisis.
The NNPC and the fuel marketers traded blames on who is responsible for the scarcity, resulting in rising retail prices averaging between N200 and N700 per litre in most states with transport fares hitting the roof.
Not only did Kyari ruled out plans to raise pump price during 2019 Yuletide and New Year, he also assured that NNPC had put necessary measures have been put in place to ensure zero fuel queues at filling stations across the country.
He came out to announce that critical stakeholders in the Downstream Sector of the Petroleum Industry’s meeting held in Abuja had ratified the zero-queue agenda during and after the festivities.
The meeting held at NNPC Towers was sequel to the Presidential directive to ensure seamless supply and distribution of petroleum products across the nation during and after the period.
“Based on the level of collaboration among stakeholders in the downstream sector, the yuletide season and beyond will be devoid of any form of product scarcity,’’ Kyari said in a statement by the Acting Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs, Mr Samson Makoji.
Necessary logistics were emplaced to tackle challenges that could hamper free flow of fuel laden trucks and vessels as promised by Kyari, who had put his integrity and that of the President on the line.
According to the Group Managing Director, the stakeholders agreed on clear timeline for loading, stamping and dispatch of fuel tankers at all petroleum products depots nationwide, clear documentation process and procedures for all fuel tankers among others.
On efforts to help subsidiaries to boost power supply, gas and power development, NNPC is mobilizing and supporting stakeholders in the power-value chain to improve gas and power development to upscale power generation, transmission and supply.
Just in January 2020, the Russian Government announced its partnership with the NNPC to develop Nigeria’s upstream, gas and power sectors, the first of its kind.
The Russian Federation Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr Alexey Shebarshin, made this public during a working visit to Kyari in Abuja.
Shebarshin, who said the visit was to consolidate on the gains made from the Russia-Africa Summit held in Sochi in 2019, assured that the Russian Embassy in Nigeria was keen on enhancing and developing the bilateral co-operation between the two countries across the oil and gas value-chain.
On the corporation’s new accountability agenda, Kyari has consistently been releasing the NNPC Monthly Financial and Operations Report (MFOR) in keeping with his promise.
For instance, it records a ₦13.23bn increase in trading surplus in October 2019 against the ₦8.59 billion surplus in September, an increase of 65 per cent, while ₦5.2 billion and ₦4.26 billion surplus was posted in August and July respectively.
The monthly performance report also notes that pipeline vandalism drops by 81 per cent in October with only 35 vandalized-pipeline points, representing a decrease of 81 per cent from the 186 vandalized-points recorded in September.
“Out of the vandalized points, eight failed to be welded, while only one pipeline was ruptured, with Ibadan-Ilorin axis accounting for 34 per cent of the breaks, while ATC-Mosimi and other routes accounted for 23 per cent and 43 per cent, respectively.’’
The corporation has also made significant progress in the Crude Oil and Gas export sales with $483.25 million made in October 2019, an increase of 35.77 per cent compared to the previous month.
A cheering report came from the ongoing crude exploration activities in the inland sedimentary basins in a bid to improve reserve which Kyari has promised to sustain: “Reports from the exploration drilling in the Kolmani River in the Gongola Basin are very encouraging.’’
This seven-month scorecard put together by Persecondnews points to one thing — that a failed enterprise or establishment can be turned around and the wrongs righted with an adroit, versatile and sound managers, whose services to the nation will be appropriately documented on its timeline.