NNPC Retires Another Executive Director
By Mike Oduniyi

Group Executive Director (GED), Engineering and Technology, of the Nigerian National Petro-leum Corporation (NNPC) has been retired in a major restructuring that may see two more directorates scrapped under a post privatised NNPC.

THISDAY checks revealed that the GED, Engineer Alex Ogedengbe, will proceed on retirement on April 18, 2003. He will be the second NNPC GED to be retired in the last 10 months following the retirement of Dr. Andrew Uzoigwe, who was in charge of Exploration and Produ-ction, on health grounds.

While NNPC officials claimed that Ogedengbe was retired on age grounds, sources at the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) disclosed that his retirement as well as the scrapping of that post signalled the commencement of the corporation's restructuring ahead of its privatisation.

The NNPC will not be naming a replacement for Ogedegbe, as under the privatisation plan for the corporation, the posts of the group executive director, Commer-cial and Investment as well as that of Refining and Petrochemicals, is expected to be scrapped.

The BPE, the Federal Government agency in charge of the sale of state-owned enterprises, have begun talks with the management of the NNPC, as NNPC refineries, the Pipelines and Products Marketing Company (PPM-C), the petrochemical plants and the Nigerian Gas Company (NGC) are slated for privatisation.

The BPE has also appointed two foreign companies, Nexant Consultants of UK and Canada's Tom Houston & Associates,

to assist in the formulation of strategies, legal and regulatory framework for a privatised downstream oil sector.

"Strictly under the privatisation plan, there will be no need for the directorates listed for scrapping at the NNPC headquarters because they oversee those subsidiaries slated for sale," disclosed a BPE source.

What has given further impetus for the scrapping of the posts sources added, was the failures of the subsidiaries under their portfolios.

For instance, the four refineries have remained largely unproductive in the past four years, the result of which is the current fuel crisis plaguing the nation. The three petrochemical plants in Kaduna, Warri and Port Harcourt are also in bad shape.

The engineering and technology department was also scored poorly by an NNPC/BPE assessment team.

The NNPC however, still holds oil marketers responsible for the lingering scarcity of petroleum products.

Towards this end, the corporation yesterday issued fresh sanctions against fuel marketers alleged to have engaged in diversion of products.

In a press statement issued and signed by the NNPC General Manager, Group Public Affairs, Mr. Ndu Ughamadu, the corporation said it had introduced a penalty of N4.5 million per truck, to be imposed on any marketer that divert products meant for a given location.

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