Govt cancels oil and gas pre-shipment inspection tendering process

By The Citizen
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The Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, has ordered the immediate cancellation of the tendering process for the engagement of Pre-Shipment Inspection and Monitoring Agents for Oil and Gas.

Director of Press, Mr. Marshall Gundu, in a statement in Abuja, yesterday,  said the decision was necessitated by the receipt of complaints and a petition regarding alleged irregularities in the process.

Adeosun was quoted as saying: 'The sheer volume of complaints and the wide range of sources they emanated from had raised a sufficient level of concern around the process to warrant a full cancellation rather than a suspension.

'This administration stands for transparency and accountability and it is, therefore, important that all procurement and tendering exercises must be undertaken in accordance with best practices.'

She said the ministry was in touch with the Bureau of Public Procurement and that a new process that would be transparent in line with the policy of the current administration would be announced shortly.

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She said: 'President Muhammadu Buhari, had in June, mandated the Federal Ministry of Finance, under the then Permanent Secretary, Mrs. Anastasia Nwoabia, to commence the process of engaging Pre-Shipment Inspection and Monitoring Agents. Upon the approval of the Bureau of Public Procurement, a selective tendering process was initiated under which 65 companies were selected and invited to bid.

'However, since the inception of the process, numerous complaints were sent to the Federal Ministry of Finance, suggesting that the method by which the 65 companies were selected was faulty and lacked transparency.

'Additionally, a formal petition was received by the Bureau of Public Procurement making specific allegations about the process. Under Public Procurement rules, the receipt of a formal petition requires a suspension of the tendering process to allow an investigation. However, in this instance, the Minister has taken the decision to cancel.'

Pre-ship inspection of oil and gas exports commenced earlier in the year and requires a Clean Certificate of Inspection to be issued, confirming the volume and the value of all exports. The programme is believed to have enhanced government revenues by preventing misstatement and understatement by exporters.