Why Senate summoned Amaechi, Sylva, NNPC GMD – Folarin
Senator representing Oyo Central at the National Assembly, Oloye Teslim Folarin, on Sunday revealed the rationale behind the invitation of the Minister of Transportation, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, Minister of state for petroleum, Timipre Sylva and the Group Managing Director of NNPC, Mele Kyari by the Senate.
Folarin, a chieftain of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) maintained that the Senate Committee on local content, Downstream petroleum and legislative compliance on Thursday resolved to invite the trio based on the issue of waivers in the maritime industry.
The former Senate Leader, while speaking in Ibadan, the Oyo state capital, said that the trio are to appear before the committee after 7 weeks recess of the Senate.
Folarin noted that the Senate is worried that foreign vessels have reportedly taken over the jobs of local vessels owners in the maritime industry as a result of waivers.
He added that the decision to summon them is sequel to the Senate Investigative hearing of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA).
Folarin said the Senators observed that the minister of Transportation is responsible for the issuance of waivers under the Act.
“There are areas under the Act, where the minister is responsible, for instance the issuance of waivers, that has nothing to do with the Director General of NIMASA. So there is no point asking the Director General,” he said.
He explained that a lot of questions will go to the minister.
Folarin added that the Director General of NIMASA is more of operational officer.
“When we resume, the GMD of NNPC will also be invited. He wanted to come today but… so when we resume in September, the GMD NNPC and the minister of state for petroleum will also come.
“Because those are the two major players in our maritme industry. NIMASA and NNPC. NNPC is 70 percent, so there are a lot of grey areas that they need to shed light on. And you see the significance of this investigative hearing is not to witch-hunt anybody. We are not doing that. What COVID-19 has done is to destroy the myth called globalization, because you can see every country is for himself.
“So this tells us that we must begin to look inwards, a lot of money we want to retain it in the country and that is all about it and I think is the right thing to do.
“The Act was enacted in 2003, so what we are trying to do is to review the progress so far from 2003 till date, so if we don’t have enough Nigeria participation in the sector, what it means is that the Act is not working well. Because the Act was specifically enacted to look after the Nigerian interest.
“The NIMASA DG submitted his documents this morning and there is no way we would have gone through all these documents, but when we quickly went through, we saw some inconsistencies, for instance the names of foreign vessels are also the same names as the local vessels. So we need to find out, may be it was an error in his office.
“Nigeria under the local content Act, our people should have first option but rather than us having first option, it appears we are now taking the back seat, so we are now saying look we should be in the front seat and if we now need more vessels then the foreigners can then be given waivers. But a case where our people are now behind and have no hope is clearly unacceptable. I don’t want to preempt what the minister will say but almost certainly, from my experience of the system, a lot of the issues are institutional,” he stated.