By Edith Ike-Eboh and Emmanuel Afonne
The Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited has ended the year on a bright note after it won an award as the overall best company in oil and gas reforms.
The NNPC was honoured at the Open Government Partnership (OGP) global awards which was held in Seoul, South Korea on 15 December.
Nigeria beat other African and Middle Eastern countries to the award for setting up a Beneficial Ownership (BO) registry to end anonymous companies in the country.
The Deputy Director/Head Communications & Advocacy of the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI), Obiageli Onuorah, said in a statement that a lot of factors were considered before Nigeria was picked for the award.
Onuorah said the summit considered the government’s overall commitment to reforms in the oil, gas and mining sectors and its support to NEITI to establish a beneficial ownership register of companies in business in Nigeria’s extractive sector.
Also considered were the broader reforms in beneficial ownership disclosure by the CAC through the amendment of the Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA) and the recent Petroleum Industry Act (PIA).
Commenting on the feat, Executive Secretary of NEITI, Dr Orji Ogbonnaya Orji, expressed delight that the international community was beginning to assess Nigeria’s efforts at fighting corruption and deepening its democracy.
He described the award as impressive and encouraging, considering the political will and enormous resources the government had deployed to reposition the extractive industry to benefit all Nigerians.
The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Dr Zainab Ahmed, congratulated Nigeria on the award and noted that establishing a beneficial ownership register had helped Nigeria “track, reduce and arrest corrupt practices that are undertaken either by companies or beneficial owners of companies.”
The Open Government Partnership (OGP) is a partnership of 78 countries and 76 local governments – together representing more than 2 billion people – along with thousands of civil society organisations.
They work together to make governments more transparent, less corrupt, participatory and responsive to their citizens.
Over 8,000 members of the OGP community voted in the Impact Awards, which had Tunisia and Ghana coming second and third respectively.
Still in the week under review, the Image Merchants Promotion (IMPR) recognised the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC) as the best organisation in Community Relations activities.
This followed records of its impactful community relations projects across the country.
Speaking at the Award Ceremony in Abuja, the Chief Executive Officer of the IMPR, Mr Yushau Shuaib, said the recognition of the national oil company as the overall Best in Community Relations category was purely based on visible multi-billion-Naira projects executed at its different operational locations and beyond.
Shuaib stated that the NNPC had ensured adequate utilisation of Public Relations strategies in the execution of community relations services, noting that the people-oriented initiatives were professionally driven.
“The award of N6bn worth of contracts to six oil and gas communities in Niger Delta and the revival of 5.4 hectares of land for the construction of a 200-bed capacity hospital and a diagnostic centre in Gombe State among others received wider publicity and commendations from beneficiaries,” he said.
Receiving the award on behalf of the NNPC Limited, the Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division and former President of the Nigerian Guild of Editors, Mr Garba Deen Muhammad, said as a socially responsible entity, the company would continue to embark on CSR interventions that would add value to the society.
He pointed out that NNPC was one of the few establishments that had a policy document on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), saying that in spite of the current reality of the Petroleum Industry Act that stresses profitability, the company would remain committed to its payoff – touching lives in many positive ways.
Some of the organisations in attendance were, Defence Headquarters (DHQ), the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), Department of State Security Service (DSS), the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), among others.