Group Calls On President Tinubu To Be Wary Of Economic Saboteurs
The Nigerian Transparency Initiative for Good Governance has called on President Tinubu to be wary of some economic saboteurs, especially in the oil and gas sector.
In a statement signed by the group Executive Director, Sani Ahmad and General Secretary Henry Nwosu said that some negative tendencies within the present regime bent on sabotaging the laudable foundation already laid regarding the approval of the pre-shipment inspection to companies that duly qualified for it. This would no doubt create a setback, erode investors’ confidence, and stiffen the growth and development of the sector.
“It is in the overall interest of the country, especially now that the present government is making frantic efforts to revamp the economy that we appeal to such vested interests to stop forthwith their parochial scheming to cancel the already approved contracts, and later award the same to their cronies and lankies, they said.
The statement read, “Our attention has been drawn to certain developments in the oil and gas sector regarding moves by some elements within the Federal Government to undo some of the critical decisions taken by the previous administration aimed at growing the Nigerian economy and making it competitive globally.
“We would not have taken the moves of these elements with a pinch of salt except for some incontrovertible evidence at our disposal. First, we believe the administration of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has the interest of the masses at heart and would do anything to protect such interests, especially by safeguarding the oil and gas industry upon which the economy of the country stands. Secondly, the oil and gas sector over the years has experienced lots of challenges ranging from oil thefts to vandalism of infrastructures, corruption, and abuses. We are also aware that efforts have been made to sanitize the sector, encourage investments, and expand the infrastructures to accommodate the growth and development necessary to pull back the nation’s economy from the brink of precipice!
“As critical stakeholders, we are alarmed that each time the government takes decisions to move the oil and gas sector forward, some vested interests would begin to create problems to frustrate government decisions and cripple the entire sector. Such unpatriotic moves have also sent wrong signals to would-be investors, both local and international, who watched from the sidelines if their investments would be safe in the country in view of prevailing scenarios.
It said further, “It is in respect of the foregoing that we want to let the public know, and especially Mr. President, that in 2023, the Federal Executive Council approved the appointment of PRE-SHIPMENT INSPECTOR S AND MONITORING/EVALUATION AGENTS for crude oil and gas exports under the Nigerian Export Supervision scheme.
“The whole process was approved by FEC and taken to the Federal Ministry of Finance for implementation.
“The Presidential approval was secured following compliance with due process in line with the provision of the Public Procurement Act, 2007. The government approved nine consultants out of about 81 who applied. The approval was based on their past antecedents and experience as well as professional competence.
“It should be noted that part of the qualification during the bidding process, was that all the bidders must establish laboratories and offices in Warri, Port Harcourt, and Lagos, which they all did.
“The nine companies approved by the Federal Government are as follows: 1 Trobell International Limited; 2 Trust Global Services Limited; 3 Kepcheren; 4 Robinson International Energy Limited; 5 Marydel Nigeria Limited; 6 Candid Oil Services; 7 Beechstone Limited; 8 General Marine And Oil Services Limited And 9 Patbon Services Limited
“After the approval, the Companies together with their foreign partners began extensive works to carry out their mandates, trusting that stability, transparency, and decorum have returned to the sector due to the painstaking and transparent processes and procedures followed during the bidding periods. The companies were also of the belief that since government is a continuous process, their investments in the sector will be protected irrespective of the stance of future government, more so when all constitutional procedures have been followed, and the processes leading to government approval adjudged as most transparent by international best standards and practices.
“We have been told that some top officials with vested interests in the Presidency are trying to reverse the approval and drop the approved consultants in order to bring in their preferred agents through the back door. We believe these moves would be counterproductive and inimical to the efforts of President Bola Tinubu to attract investors into the country. The President has in recent times travelled to Europe and Asia to woo investors; nothing should be done to sabotage his efforts.
“Furthermore, a circular obtained from the office of the Minister of Finance shows that the Monitoring and Evaluation Agents (MEAs) that were approved by the Federal Government, are being replaced with new companies that were not part of the bidding process. Most worrisome is the fact that the companies didn’t go through the public procurement process. This is very unhealthy for the industry.
“It is most pathetic that the same companies have not been remitting any revenue to the federal government coffers. This should not be allowed to stand.
“It is the belief of critical stakeholders that if the elements succeed in their unpatriotic agenda, the outcome would be unpalatable for the economy because it would erode investors’ confidence, create distrust in the system as all the nine approved consultants already have their foreign partners on the ground and have invested heavily in setting up their offices as required by law.
“We, therefore, call on President Bola Tinubu to wade into the matter and probe the activities of some interest groups within the Presidency with a view to prevent them from dabbling into an already settled matter.
“We also appeal to Mr. President to keep a close watch on developments in the oil and gas sector, especially aspects that deal with pre-shipment inspection because whatever happens in the sector alerts the international investors and partners on how serious we are as a country in protecting national assets, infrastructures, and agreements.
“We want to commend Mr. President so far for the aggressive measures he has taken to revamp the economy. He promised to hit the ground running. So far, he has not disappointed. And on the issues, we raised, Mr. President, please, do not disappoint.