Following complains by indigenous operators over what they described as award of contracts by the National Petroleum Investment Management Services (NAPIMS) to foreign firms without recourse to the capabilities of local firms in an era of local content, the House of Representatives has mandated its Committee on Petroleum Resources (Upstream) to investigate the allegations.
The committee which is to report back to the House within six weeks for further legislative action; will look more at the alleged abuse of contract award processes by the agency,
The directive from the House was subsequent to the adoption of a motion entitled: “Recurring Allegations of Impropriety and Bias in the Contracting Process between NAPIMS and Nigeria’s JV/PSC Partners and their Blatant Disregard of Statutory Provisions and Infractions against Nigerian Companies”, sponsored by Gaza Jonathan Gbefwi.
The lawmaker revealed that in the last eight years, some petitioners have accused NAPIMS of initiating numerous contract awards (catering, accommodation, vessels, etc) without completion and renewal of such contracts continuously in favour of the existing contractors.
According to him, “There has been award of contracts to foreign companies at the expense of local companies, often at a higher cost and many cases of the agency refusing to resolve and approve settlement of pecuniary infractions against Nigerian companies by major oil companies even when such cases have been concluded in favour of the petitioners, just as there have been increasing reports of corruption by top officials of the agency”.
While noting that Nigerian firms had severally complained of the inclusion of contractors, who were not part of the initial bidding process, arbitrary change of originally approved commercial evaluation criteria after submission and evaluation to favour a particular contractor and the award of contracts at exorbitant rates above current market realities, Gbefwi said if the situation is not stopped, the diversification and growth of local content will remain a farce.