The Senate Committee on Local Content has directed that the tendering process for indigenous shippers to participate in Total Nigeria Limited oil and gas business be completed after it was suspended in spite of shippers having gone through the process for almost 5 years.
Giving the directives at the committee hearing of a petition by Indigenous Ship Owners Association of Nigeria, Chairman of the committee, Sen. Solomon Adeola (APC, Lagos West), stated that it was unfair on Nigerian entrepreneurs trying to participate in the Oil and Gas industry to be taken through a rigorous tendering process lasting for almost 5 years only for Total Nigeria Limited to unilaterally cancelled the process with agreement of regulatory bodies like NNPC and NAPIMS.
Said he, “It is unfair to allow any Nigerian company to go through a process of tendering involving technical and commercial pre- qualifications and on the verge of contract award for the whole process to be cancelled.
“As representatives of the people of Nigeria, the Senate frown on this and direct the completion of the process among the companies that participated in the process in accordance with the Local Content Law of 2010 and other relevant laws of Nigeria,” the committee chairman said..
The Senator told the representatives of NNPC, Total Nigeria Limted and Indigenous Ship Owners Association that much pressure has been brought on him to jettison the petition in favour of a new tendering process including the offer of a vessel for him to participate as a ship owner but he rejected the offer adding that if Total find the business environment of Nigeria conducive for business it is the right thing for the Senate to also make the environment conducive to local business men.
“The process of tendering in this case can be liken to that of a child born five years ago. At 5 years the child will be ready to go to nursery school and set for greater heights. The cancellation of the tendering process amounts to killing the child or similar at the age of five. No parent will be happy of such eventuality. It is better the child is sick and remedy sought to cure whatever ailments there is” he stated.
Earlier, the General manager of NAPIMS who represented NNPC, Mr. Roland Ebuware has stated that Total Nigeria Limited has the latitude to decide on the tendering process as a commercial enterprise as long as it is not breaching any laws but however added that he is in the process of reviewing the whole saga.
“Within six to 9 months, I will conclude the whole process as what I met since I resume about 6 months ago is nothing to write home about. But if the old tendering is to be followed then we need a waiver from the Nigerian Content Development Monitoring Board (NCDMB) that has set some rules and guidelines for the tendering” the NAPIMS manager stated.
At this point Sen. Adeola directed the clerk of the Committee to write to NCDMB to grant the waivers requested by NAPIMS since the laws on Local Content supersedes and rules or guidelines of an agency.
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