Senate probes Italian firm over local content violation in $10bn gas project
The leadership of the Senate has directed its Committee on Local Content to immediately commence investigations into the alleged breach of local content law by an Italian firm.
The development was sequel to a petition by one Moboluwaduro Abimbola, to the President of the Senate, Dr Ahmad Lawan, and the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission.
The petitioner had specifically in its letter dated June 30, 2021 alleged that Messrs Saipem Contracting Nigeria Limited (an Italian company registered in Nigeria) breached the nation’s local content law.
Abimbola in the petition, a copy of which was obtained by our correspondent, further alleged that the Italian firm did not involve indigenous companies in the processes of awarding contracts on the NLNG Train 7 (T7) project.
The $10 billion Train 7 is a gas project owned by the Nigerian Liquid and Natural Gas Company (NLNG).
It was expected to boost the nation’s gas capacity by 35 per cent.
It is a dual-feed project with one consortium made up of three companies, including, Messrs Saipem, Daewoo and Chyonda, which are involved in the delivery of one feed.
The petitioner claimed that the Nigerian Content Plan for the Train-7 project was approved and that a Certificate of Authorisation had been issued by the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) since the March 22, 2019.
Abimbola also said that a few months into the commencement of the project, the National Assembly received several petitions which detailed how Saipem, the principal partner in the delivery of the project, had allegedly created a strange system.
The system, according to him, excludes qualified Nigerian companies in the bidding and award process of contracts.
He maintained that the practice was against the local content laws deliberately reserved for Nigerians to benefit from.
He added that the President Muhammadu Buhari, had in July, this year, said the project was expected to create over 12,000 direct and 1.2 million indirect jobs.
Buhari, the petitioner added, said millions of dollars’ worth of activities and contracts within the Train 7 project, would be executed by Nigerians.
Attempts made by the Punch to know when the Senate Committee on Local Content will summon the management of the firm failed on Sunday.
Calls made to the mobile phone of the Chairman of the panel, Senator Teslim Folarin, did not connect.
He had also yet to reply the text message sent to him as of the time of filing this report.
However, a member of the committee, who spoke on conditions of anonymity because he was not authorised to address journalists on the issue, confirmed that the Senate President had directed an investigation on the matter.
He said, “We have been mandated to investigate the case and we shall commence action once we are through with the budget defence session this week.
“We will summon the management of the company to come and tell Nigerians why they are flouting the country’s law and shortchanging the citizenry in the process,” he added.
Senate probes Italian firm