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BPP uses training to enhance transparency in procurement

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Mamman Ahmadu


The Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) yesterday commenced three-week training for its officers to promote transparency and accountability in the public procurement process.Speaking the opening ceremony for the event in Lagos, BPP Director-General, Mamman Ahmadu, said the agency is working very hard to digitize its operations, to reduce the level of human intervention in the public procurement process.

He said the ongoing procurement reforms has helped in preventing corruption in Nigeria adding that the BPP is taking the lead on the procurement reform process by developing the capacity for its workforce to implement the reforms using trainings.“The reform is imperative for the purpose of good governance, which is the hallmark of any serious system. As it were, efficiency, transparency, accountability and value for money in the public procurement process can only be achieved through concerted, sustained and consistent effort of government at skill acquisition needed for the process,” he said.

“Nigeria’s status as a signatory to the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC) makes it necessary that all hands must be on deck to see to it that Nigeria escapes from corruption,” he added. Ahmadu, who was represented by Director Energy Infrastructure at BPP, Babatunde Kuye, said the role of agency is to actually come out with systems to stop corruption in public Procurement and Contracting Process.

“Our area, is preventing corruption, while EFCC is investigating corruption when it has already occurred. So, in doing this, the BPP is the regulator, following up with the regulation, guidelines and ensuring that where there are problems, the problems will be escalated to sister agencies. Ours is to come out with systems, that will ensure that as far as possible, corruption is prevented in the procurement process,” he stated.

Continuing, he said the first thing is to ensure that the officers, who will be working to ensure transparency even, know what the law is. “They are also well trained in what the processes are, the know the dos and don’ts and also the consequences of doing the wrong thing and the advantages of doing the right thing.”

Capacity development is the first thing, which we have done. The second is ensuring there are regulations that guide procurement officers in doing the right thing. These are issues they will be exposed to in this three weeks. We doing a lot in area of skills development,” he said.

“We are doing a lot to digitize our electronic processes system to reduce the effect of human manipulation in the system. We have a lot of things in our system. Within the next few weeks, we will officially unveil the price checker, which will check prices for commonly procured goods. We have already started the process of developing the e-procurement system. It will take a while, possibly, by next year. Before the end of next year, it will be officially launched so that all procurement processes will be through the e-procurement process,” he said.

Ahmadu said the whole essence is to remove human intervention, as much as possible. We are training people on the procurement process, but human beings will always be human beings.

“You can only reduce corruption, when you reduce to the barest minimum, human interaction, other than to ensure that the system works, human beings should not be given discretion to make decisions beyond what they should ordinarily should.
So, the price checker is to ensure that across all government agencies, commonly procured goods like stationary, are bought at a price that is uniform, not the same. Then, everybody is aware and that will discourage malpractices. E-procurement as you know, is doing electronically, all that we now do manually, so that it will be difficult for anyone to manipulate,” he added.

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