The Federal Government has started screening local and foreign oil companies which submitted bids to import fuel into the country under the Direct Sales Direct Purchase (DSDP) model, it was learnt.
The aim is to ensure that the firms are financially and technically fit.
Under the DSDP, firms get crude allocation from the government and bring products of equal value to the country to ensure even distribution nationwide.
The Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Ndu Ughamadu, in a telephone interview with The Nation, said the government had set up a technical committee to look at the financial strength.
Others, he said, include ascertaining the level of credibility of the bidding firms and their capacity to deliver at an agreed date in the event their bids were approved by the government.
According to him, the issue of eligibility of the firms is of utmost concern to the government, adding that government is stopping at nothing to ensure that only the companies with strong financial capacity and reasonable level of credibility were approved for the DSDP import model.
He said the issue of selecting qualified bidders is sensitive and tasking, stressing that the development informed the decision of the government to take its time on the issue.
Ughamadu said: “The process of picking bidders for fuel importation and other issues that are germane to the economy must be thorough, hence the decision of the government to handle the issue painstakingly.
“The government has been careful with the issue of picking bidders for fuel importation ever since the time it came out with the idea of importation of fuel through Direct Sales Direct Purchase model. Both local and foreign firms have submitted bids for fuel importation under the DSDP model, in line with the directives of the government on the issue. The process of picking the best bidders is on-going. Presently, the government through NNPC is analysing the bids, while at the same time, looking into the financial capacity and ability of the firms to deliver, should they win the bids. Some firms operate onshore; others operate offshore.”
Ugbamadu said the government is ready to open its doors to foreign crude refiners that want to invest in Nigeria. He said any attempt made by the foreign crude refining firms to invest in Nigeria is in tandem with the policy of the Federal Government, to grow the economy, by bringing in investors into the country.
“If in the long run, crude oil refiners from developed economies, which would operate under the Direct Sale and Direct Purchase import model, wish to invest in Nigeria, they are welcomed. The more investors we have in Nigeria’s refining sector, the better for the country,” he said.
He said the government has been calling for more local and foreign investments, in order to promote growth.