Some stakeholders in the oil sector are expressing concern, following the planned award of a $2.317 billion gas pipeline contract from the North-Central to North-West by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
The anxiety is coming against the background of feelers in the sector that “a consortium well connected in government circles” has already being picked to get the contract. It is believed that due process may be breached in the proposed award of the Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) contracts of Ajaokuta-Kaduna-Kano (AKK) Gas Pipeline which is in the region of $2.317 billion (about N830 billion). In fact, a strongly-worded petition had been sent to President Muhammadu Buhari by one of the stakeholders “to ensure that the right thing is done in the award of the contract”. Also, another group had approached the National Assembly to carry out its oversight function and wade into the matter “in the interest of fair play, justice and transparency”. To ensure that “the right thing is done”, a search light is already beamed on the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) whose responsibility is to ensure that the bidding was carried out in a transparent manner with advertisement and publications carried out in government tenders journal. A source alleged a plan by the NNPC to award the contract “under the table”, shutting out other serious contractors/bidders. He said: “The issue is that even when the BPP is seen as fulfilling all righteousness by advertising and publishing tenders, the contract will be awarded to a particular consortium. It is in the interest of everybody that the best is allowed to do this job, not a group with no experience and expertise”. Already, NNPC had sought, in a letter to BPP, a Certificate of No Objection to enable it obtain the approval of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) for the construction of the gas pipeline. To some stakeholders and bidders, this move by the NNPC “is suspect” and may affect the process of awarding the contract during the tender, bidding and pre-qualification stages.