Nigeria’s Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, has blamed the incessant cases of poor contract negotiations in Nigeria on corruption, lack of transparency and other factors that have bedevilled the society.
The remark by Osinbajo is coming following disputes and huge losses incurred by the Federal Government in recent times due to such negotiations with other countries and organizations.
This disclosure was made by the Vice President while addressing a 2-day capacity building workshop for negotiations on Monday, June 28, 2021, in Abuja, according to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).
The workshop which was organised by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) in conjunction with the Inter-Agency Committee on Stopping Illicit Financial Flows (IFFs) from Nigeria, seeks to help Nigeria improve its terms of engagement with the rest of the world as part of efforts to stem illicit financial flows.
During the event, Vice-President Osinbajo made reference to the P&ID case and the Strategic Alliance Contract case where Nigeria is at risk of losing billions of dollars due to poor and shrewd negotiations of the contracts.
He said that Guinea and Pakistan had suffered economic losses arising from poorly negotiated bilateral investment treaties, observing that Nigeria had also been confronted with similar issues.
He identified some factors as being responsible for the lapses to include lack of knowledge of the specific subject matter, lack of accountability and corruption.
He pointed out that people must be held responsible for poorly negotiated contracts while transparency and due process must be encouraged.
Osinbajo advocated that arbitrators that must be engaged should be experts in the subject matter in negotiating foreign contractual agreements.
While speaking, Osinbajo called for proper negotiation by Nigeria in the ongoing discussion on climate change which he says should put into consideration Nigeria’s peculiar economic situation and needs of the citizens.
What you should know
It can be recalled that in 2019, P&ID was awarded $6.6 billion in an arbitration decision against Nigeria by a UK arbitration court over a failed project to build a gas processing plant in the Southern Nigerian city of Calabar. With the accumulated interest payments, the sum went up to about $9 billion, which amounts to 20% of Nigeria’s foreign reserves.
The firm had initiated moves to identify the Nigerian assets that could be seized and it might include the country’s oil cargoes.
Nigeria, in a bid to overturn the judgment, filed an appeal through the office of the Attorney General of the Federation against the judgment.