16 September, 2011, Sweetcrude, ABUJA– The Executive Secretary of the Petroleum Technology Development Fund, PTDF, Muttaqua Rabe Darma has ordered the revocation of contracts of two contractors for abandoning their jobs at the site of the National Institute of Petroleum Policy and Strategy.
Darma gave the order after an inspection visit on Thursday to the site of the project and meeting with some of the contractors on the project site located on over 100 hectare of land in Kaduna, Kaduna State.
Speaking to journalists at the end of the meeting, Darma stated that the two contractors, Dekit Construction Nigeria Ltd and Messrs Garcos Nigeria Ltd, had brought so much embarrassment to the Fund by failing to meet their obligations to construct roads and residential accommodation within the Institute even after collecting reasonable advance payments on the over N10.4 billion project.
He said, “This project has been behind schedule for more than a year, and some of the contractors are not showing commitment to its completion. In fact, these two have outrightly abandoned the site after collection of their advance payment.
“We have analysed the commitment of the contractors and found out that more than 80 percent of the contractors on site were not committed to achieving the project. They just collected their advance payment and disappeared into thin air.”
Darma noted that PTDF was not under any obligation to give advance payment, but went on to do so to ensure that the work is done professionally and on time.
“One of the sub-contractors working with Dekit Construction has invited taken the matter to the Independent Corrupt and other Related Practices Commission (ICPC), and it has caused us so much embarrassment,” he stated.
He added that the Fund was would pursue legal determination as well as accounting determination of the revoked contracts, according to the contract management procedure.
He further disclosed that the Fund has issued letter of warnings to more than half of the contractors, indicating its displeasure with the pace of work and demanding more commitment otherwise they would be dropped.
Darma noted that the contractors have given numerous reasons for the delay in the completion of the project including the beginning of the rainy season, the post-election violence in parts of the North, and threats by some of the land owners over compensation issues.
“We have listened to their worries and have received their assurance that they would give more time and resources towards the achievement of the first phase of the project by the beginning of next year. In fact, we have told them that the first phase of the project must be completed on or before March 31, 2012, preparatory for commissioning between April and June of next year,” he added.
The Federal Executive Council had in 2009 approved about N15 billion for the upgrade of the 16-year old National College of Petroleum Studies, in Kaduna, Kaduna State, which has been renamed National Institute for Petroleum Policy and Strategy.
Darma explained that the project when completed will become the flagship institution for training senior management personnel in the industry to become general management staff.
He said, “This institute would represent to the industry what the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies is to the public service and the National Defence College to the military.”
Darma further disclosed that the upgrade of the college, originally established by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) in 1992, would involve equipping it with relevant facilities, including a world-class laboratory for analytical work and research in oil as gas.
PTDF had set a target of 97 weeks from July 1, 2009 for the completion and commissioning of the project to upgrade the National College of Petroleum Studies.
Darma noted at the signing of consultancy agreements for the supervision of the project by selected consultants, that the deadline was derived from the work plan submitted by the contractors considered for the award of contracts for the project.
He urged the contractors and consultants to apply professional skills to ensure that the project is delivered on time and in good quality.
Darma gave assurance that the Fund would not delay in paying contractors as and when certificates are raised having regard to the provisions of the Public Procurement Act.
The PTDF boss further disclosed that the Fund has so far spent about N17 billion in the educational, organizational and infrastructural upgrade of the Petroleum Training Institute, Effurun, Warri for enhanced training of middle-level manpower for the industry.