The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC) on Thursday hinted that the decision by its board of directors to move a substantial part of its accounts to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) won’t create any hindrances to its operations.
Speaking when the CBN Governor, Olayemi Cardoso visited him in his office, the NNPC’s Group Chief Executive Officer, Mele Kyari, also appeared to have confirmed that contrary to beliefs in some quarters, the national oil company was not compelled to take the decision.
A number of Nigerians, including former Vice President Atiku Abubakar had recently raised issues as to the propriety of ‘compelling’ the NNPC to compulsorily move its accounts to the CBN by the Bola Tinubu-led administration.
But in very brief video clips shared with journalists from the meeting by NNPC’s Kyari and CBN’s Cardoso, the GCEO stated that part of the reason was to maintain a ‘safe obligor limit’ with the commercial banks.
As arguably the largest company in Nigeria, Kyari said that the NNPC maintains very high liquidity levels and transaction levels, because it is important to work closely with the apex bank.
He lauded the CBN for creating a special department solely to ensure that the newfound relationship is seamless, explaining that it is ultimately in the interest of the NNPC and the nation at large.
“I welcome the governor of the CBN and his senior management to NNPC Limited. We understand very clearly that this is in view of our decision to move a significant part of our revenue to the CBN, it’s very timely.
“We made that decision in line with the directives of our board of directors to maintain safe obligor limits with commercial banks.
“For us to do this, we do need additional support from the central bank to achieve this. We are a very huge company and our transactions and liquidity levels are very high and perhaps, we are the largest business in this country.
“We are also happy that the CBN has created a very robust digital platform for our transactions and also, created a department that will deal with NNPC issues and thus this will create no hindrance to our operations.
“We will continue to collaborate with the CBN to ensure that further improvements are recorded and to ensure that this relationship will serve the best interest of our company and our country in general,” he stated.
On his part, Cardoso hinted that the NNPC made the decision to move the accounts to the apex bank.
He confirmed that to ensure seamless operations, a new platform has been created, expressing confidence that the new collaboration will work in the interest of the country.
“We have come to this particular stage where the NNPC has made the decision to move a respectable part of its business to the Central Bank of Nigeria. And I also want to say that we have restructured and strengthened internal processes such that we are very capable of taking on this enormous responsibility that will be placed on the central bank.
“We are looking forward to further collaboration with the NNPC. And I have absolutely no doubt in my mind that this effective collaboration will work in the best interests of NNPC and Nigeria in general,” he said.
Separately, in a joint statement by the spokespersons of the NNPC, Olufemi Soneye and the CBN, Hakama Sidi Ali, they noted that there now exists an improved platform for managing NNPC’s cash holding obligor limits in commercial banks set by the board of directors.
“The GCEO NNPC Ltd., Mallam Mele Kyari, and the Governor of the CBN, Mr. Olayemi Cardoso, have reviewed the decision of the NNPC Ltd. to domicile a significant portion of its revenues and other banking services with the CBN.
“Following their meeting in Abuja on Thursday, February 8, 2024, the NNPC Ltd. and CBN chiefs noted the value created by the decision for all parties, especially in providing the NNPC Ltd. with an improved platform for managing its cash holding obligor limits in commercial banks set by the board of directors.
“The CBN has provided enhanced digital platforms for all transactions and has established specific limits to manage NNPC Ltd. transactions.
“Both parties have also committed to further strengthening the collaboration to ensure seamless operations of the commercial NNPC Limited and noted that NNPC Ltd. continues to have banking transactions with commercial banks as required,” the statement added.