The Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun on Wednesday ordered the immediate cancellation of the tendering process for the engagement of Pre-Shipment Inspection and Monitoring Agents for the oil and gas industry.
Pre-Shipment Inspection and Monitoring services are to help boost government revenues by preventing misstatement and understatement by exporters.
The minister said in a statement by the Director (Press), Federal Ministry of Finance, Marshall Gundu, that the cancellation became necessary following series of complaints and a petition from the Bureau of Public Procurement, BPP, alleging massive irregularities in the process.
Last June, President Muhammadu Buhari had directed the then Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Anastasia Nwoabia, to commence the process for engaging Pre-Shipment Inspection and Monitoring Agents for the industry.
Consequently, the BPP had approved a selective tendering process under which 65 companies were pre-qualified and invited to submit formal bids for the services.
But, no sooner had the process commenced than numerous complaints began to flood the Federal Ministry of Finance, alleging that the selection of the 65 firms lacked transparency and did not follow due process.
Equally, the BPP had petitioned the ministry with specific allegations against the selection process, claiming they violated its rules and regulations.
Under Public Procurement rules, the receipt of a formal petition requires the immediate suspension of the tendering process to allow for investigation.
But, the Minister explained that the sheer volume of complaints and the wide range of sources they emanated from had raised sufficient concern about the process that warranted 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,” the Minister explained.
Pre-Shipment Inspection of oil and gas export services, which commenced in 2015, require a clean certificate of inspection to be issued, confirming the volume and the value of all exports.
Meanwhile, the Mrs. Adeosun said the Finance Ministry was in consultation with the BPP on the details of a fresh process expected to commence soon to ensure interim arrangements for the service.