BY ANIEKAN SAMSON in Calabar•
Nigerian government through the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) has announced new measures in the 2018 fiscal year to eliminate corruption in public procurement and ensure that its ministries, departments and agencies adhere to the best practices.
These measures include the setting up of a procurement surveillance team that will monitor the level at which MDA’s adhere to procurement planning in its activities. In addition to this, the government through the BPP shall not issue a “Certificate of No Objection” for projects that are not found in the procurement plans submitted by the MDA’s.
The Director General of the BPP, Mamman Ahmadu disclosed these in Calabar during a one day retreat for federal permanent secretaries in the country with the theme: Public procurement for sustainable national development.
According to Ahmadu, the level of adherence of MDA’s to existing public procurement laws is very poor and this has robbed the government of vital data which is needed for proper planning and development.
“Compliance by the MDA’s to procurement planning requirements are still abysmally low despite the enormous benefits of preparing procurement plans. “The refusal of the MDA’s to comply with the statutory requirements for a procurement plan has overtime denied the bureau of vital data that inhibits its capacity to conduct adequate planning.
“Some MDA’s do not adhere to procurement planning procedures and have not performed very well; the highest performance which is 50% is not good enough. MDA’s are expected to adhere to procurement planning requirements because we want resources to be spent for the good of all. Capital expenditures is going downwards while recurrent expenditures is going upwards and so we are looking forward to a reversal of that this fiscal year through procurement planning”.
He reminded the permanent secretaries that non submission of procurement plans constitutes an offence in line with section 58 (4) (h) of the Public Procurement Act and punishment includes 5 years imprisonment as well as dismissal from service and charged them to adhere to this statutory requirements this fiscal year.
In her remarks, the Head of Service of the Federation, Mrs. Winifred Oyo Ita charged civil servants in the country “to stand firm in due process and individuals and institutions who hope to do business with government must play by the rules. This, she said is the only way to achieve 100% budget implementation.
“While it is true that civil servants work under political pressure, we have a responsibility to stand firm in due process and resist attempts to subvert extant rules and regulations. The procurement process for 2018 will no doubt be a veritable platform for demonstrating this paradigm shift and for sending out clear signals that it is no longer business as usual”, she said.
Also speaking, the Chairman, Senate Committee on Public Procurement, Senator Joshua Dariye called for total collaboration among all stakeholders to ensure optimum results in the nation’s public procurement practices.
He maintained that the public procurement act was aimed at ensuring spread in projects and condemned the practice of recycling contractors in project procurement in the country.