By Ibrahim Buhari
The Nigerian Oil and Gas sectors history will never be complete without mentioning the achievement of a great icon who impacted positively in the Oil and Gas industry.
The present Chief Financial Officer of the Nigerian National Petroleum Cooperation (NNPC), Umar Isa Ajiya is a seasoned Finance and Business Management Professional with practical experience in Corporate Financing, Business Strategy, Commercial and Stakeholder Management with over 33 years of experience in the Oil and Gas industry.
He holds a B. Sc Accounting from the Ahmadu Bello University Zaria, Nigeria in 1987 and MBA from the Lagos State University, Nigeria in 1998. Ajiya, is a fellow of the Association of National Accountants of Nigeria (ANAN), the Institute of Credit Administration (ICA), Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria (CITN) and the Nigerian Institute of Management.
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Furthermore, he attended several colleges globally which includes Cambridge in London, Insead Business School of France, IESE Business School of Spain and Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania amongst several others.
These notable icon started his career in the Oil and Gas sector with Elf Petroleum (now TotalEnergies) in 1988 and later joined the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas Limited in 1991 where he contributed significantly in raising finance for the NLNG Vessels and Trains. He was responsible for marketing the NLG to be a result-oriented entity.
Umar Ajiya, held several Managerial positions including that of Manager Treasury, Finance Manager of BGT and then Marketing & Business Development Manager of NLNG. Ajiya joined the service of NNPC as General Manager Commercial with the LNG Division under the Gas & Power Directorate of NNPC. Before his elevation to Chief Financial Officer of NNPC in July 2019, he was the Head of Corporate Planning & Strategy of the NNPC Group and later the Managing Director of the Petroleum Products Marketing Company (PPMC).
He was responsible for the development of a business that led to the establishment of NNPC LNG Limited, a holding company for the NNPC’s interest in the LNG Marketing Joint Ventures. Furthermore, he was the pioneer MD of West Africa LPG Limited, a trading Joint Venture between NNPC and Ocean Bed Limited, which now owns its own LPG vessel built and delivered in 2016 by HMD Shipyard Korea.
As MD of PPMC, Umar Ajiya championed the company’s transformation from a loss-making entity to a profitable one in 2018, for the first time in its 28 years history. Mr. Ajiya’s key achievements within NNPC include the development of new business models for NNPC Autonomous Business Units in 2016, transformation of PPMC to a profitable entity, and securing financing for key NNPC strategic projects across the upstream, midstream and downstream between 2019 and 2021. He also championed the restructuring of the NNPC Accounts in the wake of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) aimed at broader reforms including the full commercialization of NNPC. This resulted in the first declaration of profit in 2020 by the Corporation in its 44 years history. Following the enactment of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) in August 2021, Mr. Ajiya was appointed the CFO and a member of the Board of NNPC Limited. The astute CFO supported the GCEO and other NNPC Senior Management Team in sustaining NNPC’s profitability trajectory with an increase of over 200% in the 2021 fiscal year.
Mr. Ajiya also sits on the Boards of several subsidiaries of NNPC as well as other external organizations including the Federal Inland Revenue Service(FIRS) and the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI)
Dr Baru, the former GMD of the NNPC before exiting from the industry said ‘Ajiya is coming with great deal of experience. He structured LNG marketing Joint Ventures. He also turned the fortunes of NNPCgroup’s downstream subsidiary, PPMC, from loss-making to profit making’.
Mr Ajiya is Happily married with Children.