ABUJA (Reuters) – Nigerian National Petroleum Corp (NNPC) is to be split into 30 independent companies within weeks, the group’s head said on Thursday, in a restructuring designed to help tackle corruption at the state oil company.
Mismanagement and graft at NNPC has hampered an industry that provides around 70 percent of national income in Africa’s biggest crude producer, and plans to break up the company are part of efforts to dismantle opaque structures that enabled theft.
“For the first time, we are unbundling the subset of the NNPC to 30 independent companies with their own managing directors,” Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu, also minister of state for petroleum who was appointed head of NNPC last year to overhaul the company, told a conference in Abuja.
“Titles like group executive directors are going to disappear and in their place you are going to have chief executive officers, and they are going to take responsibilities for their titles,” he said.
President Muhammadu Buhari has made reforming the nation’s oil sector a priority as a slump in oil prices has hammered the economy, since crude exports account for around 95 percent of foreign earnings.
Last year the former military ruler fired the NNPC board and brought in Kachikwu to lead corporate reform efforts.
Kachikwu also told the conference members of OPEC plan to meet other oil producers in Russia around March 20 for new talks on an oil output freeze.