The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited has raised diverse concerns among industry experts and operators over the appointment of Jean-Marc Cordier as the head of the oil trading arm of the company.
As announced in a statement issued in Abuja by the company’s Chief Corporate Communications Officer, Garba-Deen Muhammad, Cordier would head NNPC Trading Ltd, a subsidiary of NNPCL.
The announcement, however, triggered resentments among analysts and operators on Monday. However, other experts found nothing wrong with the development.
Energy expert and Chief Executive Officer, Sage Consulting, Bode Fadipe, said, “It is of concern to most Nigerians that at this time of our life we are still having a foreigner in such a strategic business enterprise in this country.
“The question many people will ask is that, don’t we have Nigerians who can manage that office? Are the expatriates now investors in the business or is it a joint venture that allows a foreigner to hold that kind of position?
“Has NNPC Ltd sold its shares to the public? To the best of my knowledge, it is still the Nigerian government that owns the shares in NNPCL. It is still owned by the government, so when did it start appointing foreigners to such a level?”
Fadipe said this was the first time he would see such an appointment in the national oil company, describing the development as abnormal.
A legal consultant and energy law advisor, Prof. Yemi Oke, argued that under the Petroleum Industry Act 2021, NNPCL should be a going concern, as there were requirements under the law for appointments.
“There are other Nigerian companies that have expatriates as employees. All they need is to comply with the expatriate quota and show that there’s no local manpower skilled enough to man that particular office, due to the technical nature of the position,” he stated.
Impeccable source at the national oil firm stated that most commercially viable subsidiaries of NNPCL would be managed by expatriates, going forward.
When asked what then could be the reasons for appointing expatriates if the units to be headed by them were currently commercially viable under the management of indigenes, the source replied, “Perhaps, it is to instill higher productivity, improved net profit, better efficiency and operational effectiveness.”
In its statement, NNPCL said Cordier, served as a former Vice President of the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company, adding that his appointment was in furtherance of the ongoing repositioning in the company for improved growth, better performance and service delivery.
Commenting on the development, the President, Nigeria Consumer Protection Network, Kunle Olubiyo said, NNPCL should endeavour to promote the local content drive of the Federal Government.
In his view, going out to look for a foreigner for such position is a misalignment