Oil & gas pre-shipment contract award: Group urges Tinubu to be wary of undue interference by aides

Oil & gas pre-shipment contract award: Group urges Tinubu to be wary of undue interference by aides
October 28 20:01 2023 Print This Article

A rights group with interest in sanitising the Oil and Gas sector has raised alarm over attempts by vested interests in the presidency  to subvert the already concluded bidding process to engage consultants for the Pre-Shipment Inspection Agents (PIAs) and Monitoring/Evaluation Agents (MEAs) under Nigerian Export Supervision Scheme (NESS) under the Oil and Gas sector.

The bidding process for the Pre-Shipment Contract  for PIAs and MEAs which was issued through the Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning was transparently handed in line with the Procurement Act 2007 and other extant laws.

After satisfying all the pre-qualification requirements, including expertise and tract record of experience, the contract has been awarded to highly qualified Nigerian companies vide an approval letter referenced PRES/87/MF/314 dated 15th May, 2023 by President Muhammadu Buhari.

However, some unscrupulous elements in Tinubu’s government are desperately bent on thwarting the process and causing an ignominious policy reversal.

In a press release duly signed and made available to journalists in Abuja by Zakary Musa Zubairu, the National Coordinator of Transparency Alliance Network, the group expressed optimism that such rascality has no place in the renewed hope agenda and continuity policy of the All Progressives Congress (APC), adding that those seeking to exploit their proximity to power and the trust reposed in them by President Tinubu to enrich themselves should know that there’s no room for such criminality in this administration.

According to the statement, “we have very reliable and credible intelligence at our disposal that after passing through the bidding and pre-qualification process for the Pre-Shipment Inspection and Monitoring in the Oil and Gas sector, vested interests in the Office of the Chief of Staff have removed the names of the companies that clearly won the bid and replaced it with their preferred companies without recourse to the already concluded process. This is not only criminal but a breach of the Procurement Act. We therefore demand it’s immediate reversal”

The group maintained that with the strategic importance of the Pre-Shipment Inspection and Monitoring in  the verification of the quality, quantity, pricing, currency exchange rate and financial terms including monitoring and evaluating, it is important to follow due process and not resort to sharp practices that will further worsen the energy crisis Nigeria is currently facing especially with the removal of fuel subsidy in the country.

“As an anti-corruption think-tank, we are saddened by the barefaced illegality that’s been supervised by the exulted office of the Chief of Staff. Shortchanging the companies that rigoorusly went through the bidding and pre-qualification process and bringing unqualified companies without the requisite experience and expertise is a deliberate attempt to jeopardise the Tinubu administration and further worsen the plight of Nigerians who depend on the Oil and Gas sector for jobs and energy needs. The need to have competent companies to monitor and evaluate the sector is sacrosanct and we stand with the law and the good people of Nigeria to denounce any such rascality”, the statement added.

The group finally called on President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to act fast and avert a catastrophe waiting to happen should the bidding process be set aside and the contract awarded to unqualified companies whose only qualification is their proximity to the corridors of power, “as it’ll perpetually cast a dark shadow of doubt on the genuineness and sincerity of the current administration’s drive to end corruption and increase efficiency in the public service”. Those masterminding this shameless graft, the group insisted should be “sacked forthwith regardless of how highly placed they may be”.

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