Kachikwu Had No Role To Play In Oil Contracts- NNPC Boss, Karu Discloses

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Kachikwu Had No Role To Play In Oil Contracts- NNPC Boss, Karu Discloses


Dr Maikanti Baru, the Group Managing Director of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has declared the move by Minister of State of Petroleum, Dr Ibe Kachikwu as very unfortunate.

His reaction is coming days after a leaked memo by Kachikwu to President Buhari stated that the NNPC Board were never involved in recent Crude Oil Terms Contract.

It will be recalled that Dr kachikwu had alleged that Baru had awarded major contracts worth over $25bn without reviewing or discussing them with him, who is the Chairman of the Board.

He said, “The legal and procedural requirements are that all contracts above $20m would need to be reviewed and approved by the board of NNPC. Mr. President, in over one year of Mr. Baru’s tenure, no contract has been run through the board.

“As in many cases of things that happen in NNPC these days, I learn of transactions only through publications in the media,” Kachikwu wrote.

Dr Baru’s response was contained in a statement issued by the Group General Manager of the Group Public Affairs Division, Ndu Ughamadu in Abuja on Monday. The statement faulted the assertion of the Minister as he said his recommendations with respect to the Crude Oil Term Contracts were taken by the NNPC Management.

In its official response to Kachikwu’s allegations, the NNPC stated that it was “important to note from the outset that the law and the rules do not require a review or discussion with the Minister of State or the NNPC board on contractual matters.

It added, “What is required is the processing and approval of contracts by the NNPC Tenders Board, the President, in his executive capacity or as Minister of Petroleum, or the Federal Executive Council, as the case may be.

“There are therefore situations where all that is required is the approval of the NNPC Tenders Board while, in other cases, based on the threshold, the award must be submitted for presidential approval. Likewise, in some instances it is FEC’s approval that is required.

The oil firm stated that the Minister exaggerated some of the contract figures he mentioned in his petition to the President.

It should be noted that for both the Crude Term Contract and the Direct Sale and Direct Purchase agreements, there are no specific values attached to each transaction to warrant the values of $10bn and $5bn respectively placed on them in the claim of Dr. Kachikwu.

“It is therefore inappropriate to attach arbitrary values to the shortlists with the aim of classifying the transactions as contracts above NNPC Tenders Board limit. They are merely the shortlist of prospective off-takers of crude oil and suppliers of petroleum products under agreed terms.

The corporation said the transactions were not required to be presented as contracts to the Board of the NNPC and, of course, the monetary value of any crude oil eventually lifted by any of the companies would go into the Federation Account and not to the company.

It said, “Furthermore, contrary to the assertion of Dr. Kachikwu that he was never involved in the 2017/2018 contracting process for the Crude Oil Term Contracts, Dr. Kachikwu was in fact expressly consulted by the GMD and his recommendations were taken into account in following through the laid down procedure. Thus, for him to turn around and claim that ‘…these major contracts were never reviewed or discussed with me…’ is most unfortunate to say the least.”

The NNPC explained that its contracting process was governed by the provisions of the NNPC Act; Public Procurement Act, 2007; and procurement method and thresholds of application and the composition of Tenders Board as provided by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation Circular reference no. SGF/OP/1/S.3/VIII/57, dated 11th March, 2009.

On approving authority for contracts, the national oil firm said the SGF Circular on procurement threshold explicitly provides that up to N2.7bn ($20m) can be awarded by the NNPC Tenders Board, while it was FEC that had the power to award contract above N2.7bn ($20m).

It said, “The BPP expressly clarified that the NNPC Tenders Board is not the same as the NNPC Board. The governing board (NNPC Board) is responsible for approval of work programmes, corporate plans and budgets, while the NTB is responsible for approval of the day-to-day procurement implementation.

“BPP referred to the SGF circular for the composition of the NTB to compose of the Accounting Officer (GMD NNPC) as the Chairman, with Heads of Department (GEDs) as members with the Head of procurement (GGM SCM) serving as the Secretary of the NNPC Tenders Board.

“The above clarifications of the provisions of the procurement process show that approvals reside within the NTB and where thresholds are exceeded, the NNPC refers to FEC for approval. Therefore, the NNPC Board has no role in contracts approval process as advised by the BPP.

“As can be seen, all these clarifications were sought and obtained prior to August, 2015 and were implemented by Dr. Kachikwu as the GMD of NNPC. Dr. Kachikwu also constituted the first NNPC Tenders Board on September 8, 2015 and continued to chair it until his exit in June, 2016.”

Taking up the issues raised in Kachikwu’s letter one after the other, the NNPC stated that the Crude Oil Term Contract that was valued at over $10bn by the minister was not a contract for the procurement of goods, works or services, but was simply a list of approved off-takers of Nigerian crude oil of all grades.

It said the list did not carry any value, but simply state the terms and conditions for the lifting, adding that it was inappropriate to attach a value to it with the aim of classifying it as contract above management limit.

It stated that in arriving at the off-takers list for 2017/2018 COTC, adverts were placed in national and international print media in October last year, while the bids were publicly opened in the presence of all stakeholders.

It said detailed evaluation was carried out and the shortlist of the successful off-takers was presented to the approving authority (Buhari) for consideration and approval.

Thereafter, NNPC published the list of the successful off-takers in newspapers and NNPC’s official website. This has been the standard procedure and it is the same process adopted during the 2016/2017 COTC when the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources was the GMD.

“In conclusion, due process has been fully followed in the shortlist of the off-takers of the Nigerian crude oil for the current term 2017/2018,” the corporation added.

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