This Nigerian Department Is Spending ₦89B of Your Money on PR

October 26, 2022

Before October 25, 2022, many Nigerians had never heard of NAPIMS. I discovered the department by accident earlier this month when I visited a friend who lived near the agency’s head office in Lagos. At first, I thought NAPIMS was just a block of residential apartments for VVIPs.

 NAPIMS’ head office in Ikoyi, Lagos

But after doing small amebo on my phone, I found out that NAPIMS is short for the National Petroleum Investment Management Services. The department is a subsidiary of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) — where all of Nigeria’s money is made and stolen. That was where my research stopped, so imagine my surprise when I saw NAPIMS in the news just weeks later.

What did NAPIMS do?

An audit of NAPIMS showed that the department spent ₦89.9 billion on public relations in 2021. This was more than triple the ₦20.7 billion NAPIMS spent on public relations in 2020.  

How thoughtful of NAPIMS to stop just short of hitting the ₦90 billion mark. You’ve earned our undying gratitude, NAPIMS.

But if just one department is spending ₦89.9 billion on public relations, shouldn’t Nigerians have actually heard of them?

Let’s do some PR for NAPIMS, shall we?

NAPIMS describes itself as a corporate services unit of the NNPC. The department manages the Federal Government’s investments in the upstream oil industry. That’s the boring part.

The really interesting part is the department’s claim of maximising the Nigerian government’s oil profits. Because the obvious question is how well have they managed to do that? Let’s show you.

The Nigerian department of flex

As you probably guessed already, public relations wasn’t the only thing NAPIMS spent too much on. I took a closer look at the audit report and found out that this department has been flexing with Nigeria’s oil money. Audited financial statements are usually boring but I promise you this one isn’t

In 2020, NAPIMS spent ₦680 million on maintenance but spent ₦63 billion the following year. Most of that fund probably went to maintaining stomachs rather than assets.

In the same 2021 NAPIMS spent ₦2.2 billion on travelling and ₦1.1 billion on entertainment — because man must chop.

Expenses on internet also went up from ₦84.6 million in 2020 to ₦6.8 billion in 2021. After all, NAPIMS is in the upstream industry, and streaming consumes a lot of data.

Let’s also not forget that NAPIMS wrote off over ₦85 billion in bad debt in 2021.

How are Nigerians taking this?

An independent research analyst, Dayo Adenubi, told Citizen that NAPIMS’ administrative expenses are alarming, especially the bad debt write-off. 

He said, “Debt write-off schemes are a common accounting fraud used by criminals to disguise unauthorised payments or reduce taxable income. I want to believe NAPIMS falls under the former.”

A Nigerian on Twitter who claimed to have worked for NAPIMS said that despite the heavy bills, it’s still possible that the financial statement is understated. 

“I was the Acting Head of Procurements and Acquisitions Department. My boss Mr Micah lost his family in an accident and took a year off work. If the NAPIMS books tell you they spent billions on something, just know say na trillions.”

Another former NAPIMS staff said, “75% of NAPIMS staff are multi-millionaires. The Ogas are multi-billionaires. All IOC contracts are advertised by NIPEX but regulations, approval and contract awards are from NAPIMS (fill in the gap). In NAPIMS we only talk in dollars.”

So what really goes on? 

Many Nigerians are now curious about what goes on at NAPIMS as the department spends so much on public relations while remaining relatively unknown. The person best-placed to address the issue is the Minister of Petroleum Resources, President Muhammadu Buhari. But we wouldn’t hold our breath for a response.  

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