Omololu Ogunmade in Abuja
Away from the raging controversy over contract award and appointments in alleged breach of due process, the Minister of State for Petroleum, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu and Group Managing Director of Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Dr. Maikanti Baru, wednesday met Vice President Yemi Osinbajo in the State House, Abuja.
But according to Kachikwu, while answering questions from journalists, the meeting did not dwell on the controversy over the allegations of contract awards and appointments of senior executive officers of the NNPC without observing due process.
Instead, he said the meeting was meant to provide the vice-president with information on activities in upstream petroleum sector especially on the cash call exit and update on Zabazaba oil field.
According to him, the meeting explored the needs of stakeholders in the oil fields including opening of escrow accounts.
â€œIt was a meeting an upstream meeting, a normal typical meeting. It was largely about Agip, bringing some information to the vice-president on where they have been in terms of in terms of Zabazaba field, in terms of the cash call exit which they are doing with NNPC, basically updating him, asking for areas where they need some assistance from government officials, to do a sort of fast track. It was a normal upstream meeting.
â€œYes we did discuss the cash call exit only to the extent of a few completion items on NNPC, largely the opening of the escrow accounts and that type of stuff which they need to fasten up on.
â€œBut we are far gone on that. lnstalmental payments are already going on. I think NNPC is undertaking by October or early next month to complete that whole process. So it is going on very well,â€ Kachikwu said.
Asked if the pump price of petrol will come down before Christmas, he said Baru would be in a better position to answer that question.
â€œI will like the GMD who does the commercial aspect to comment on that. I will need his position before I can even comment on that,â€ he added.