The House of Representatives is worried over the alleged penchant by the Chinese firms operating in the country who breach the local content Act 2010.
Legor Idagbor led House Committee on Local Content maintained that the lower legislative chamber will not condone any situation that negatively affects indigenous firms in the country.
The lawmakers are probing into alleged breaches of the local content laws on the NNPC project for the engineering, procurement, construction, installation, testing, and commissioning of the 40 ×318.6 km Kaduna-Kano section of the Ajaokuta to Kaduna to Kano gas pipelines project awarded to Brentex consortium.
Idagbor, who spoke after listening to the chief executive officer of Bablink resources Nigeria limited, Engr Bolaji Isiaka said, “China must be mindful of what our local content laws says even if they are the ones bringing monies to fund our projects. We will follow up on this matter. We are not unmindful that they may not respect the laws 100 percent that is why we request substantial compliance. Ours is to protect the commoners, the average Nigerians, and stand up for them.”
Isiaka while testifying claimed that his outfit which is an indigenous firm accused Brentex consortium of breaching the terms of the agreement to engage his outfit with the requirements experience and expertise on the execution of the contract worth over $2.6 billion in a desperate bid to satisfy Chinese firms.
“We have tried every means of conflict resolution. All they could say is that I should go to court. That is why i am here to seek your intervention on the issue,” Isiaka told the lawmakers.
“What we want the Parliament to do is to force NNPC and the Chinese Company to come to the table and provide and take away the Chinese content from the contract and allow the local content to provide it.
“Let nobody deceive you, China is not doing us a favour by borrowing us money. They have collected Sovereignty Guarantee, meaning that we are going to pay at very high rate. They have taken more than 60%. The local content law, there is nothing like Chinese content. We will not accept it and if we need to go to court, we will do that.”
Brentex chief executive officer, Mr. Sani Abubakar, insisted that the firm owned by Nigerians 100% and did not violate the local content law.
He, however, admitted there was a relationship between Brentex petroleum which is separate from Brentex Consortium, and Bablink resources Nigeria limited.
Abubakar, who claimed that no fewer than 10,000 skilled and unskilled Nigerians would be engaged in the course of executing the contract, noted that his firm did not err in law by engaging 50 Chinese experts in view of the fact that the fund was sourced from the Chinese government.
The chief operating officer, Gas and Power, Engr Yusuf Usman, who stood in for the GMD of NNPC, Mele Kyari, acknowledged the deal on the pipeline project with Brentex consortium.
He, however, said Brentext was at liberty to determine whatever agreement with other firms in the course of executing the contract.
The committee thereby summoned the heads of the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPE), the Infrastructural Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC) to make available relevant documents on the deal in a bid to unearth the actual identities of those behind the ownership of Brentex.