The possible sale of shares of the Nigerian Petroleum Assets Management Company (NPAMC) and the National Petroleum Company (NPC), which will be vested with certain liabilities and assets of the NNPC, as stipulated in the new Petroleum Industry Governance Bill (PIGB), may defeat the initial objective of ensuring that Nigerians are the primary beneficiaries of their oil wealth, ThisDay reports.
Professor Emeka Duruigbo of Texas Southern University, said this while speaking at the recent 10th Annual sub-Saharan Africa Oil & Gas Conference held in Houston, Texas, United States. Duruigbo also raised the alarm that with the sale of the oil assets to individuals, Nigeria’s oil wealth may be overtaken by oligarchs, while the increased political power of share owners could result in political instability.
While Duruigbo acknowledged that the possible sale of shares to foreigners would increase the liquidity of the assets, it may also defeat the initial objective of ensuring that Nigerians are the primary beneficiaries of their oil wealth. He also argued that with government still retaining majority ownership, it could leave room for weak boards, favoritism, inefficiencies and corruption. Duruigbo however identified privatization, corporate finance, managerial discipline and accountability, as some of the strong points of the new reform bill.
According to him, the bill will ensure shareholder responsibility – activism to protect investment value; increase in capital transaction and individual capital formation. He also noted that the new reform bill encourages streamlined regulatory structure – single regulator, clarity of roles, and also eliminates administrative conflicts and overlaps.