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Government urged to review procurement procedures in Nigeria

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The Federal Government has been urged to critically look into the laws guiding the procedures of public procurement and makes it to comply with the principles of transparency, accountability and integrity.
   
Stakeholders, who spoke at the procurement summit organized by the Nigeria Institution of Procurement Engineers (NIProcE), Lagos chapter, a division of Nigeria Society of Engineers, said the country’s socio-economic performance over the years has remained unimpressive due to high level of corruption and mismanagement of public resources.
 
The immediate past Director-General Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) and the former President, Nigeria Society of Engineers (NSE) Emeka Moumah Ezeh, said for the procurement system to be effective, the legal and institutional frameworks must be examined to see how it comply with global best practices. 

   
He said: “Nigeria’s law is yet to be upgraded or amended. Three attempts made to amend the law nearly led to the scraping of the law, as many obnoxious provisions were introduced. In spite of this, Nigeria law still remains one of the best laws in public procurement”. He noted, that that the law should quickly be amended and bring in the president as the chairman of the National Council on Public Procurement so that the bureau can have the necessary protection it needs to be more effective
   
“From experience, inaugurating the council as it is presently constituted to me is like calling for the scraping of the bureau. In any case it is even in conflict with section five of the Nigeria constitution that vests all executive powers on the President,” He added that the number one challenge facing the effective implementation of procurement in Nigeria is the composition of the National Council on Public Procurement.
   
“Besides the council, other issues bother on institutional and human capacity to implement the law”. He mentioned that the basic principle needed to make the procurement effective are transparency, integrity, economy, openness, fairness, competition and accountability.He emphasised that transparency in Public Procurement is important. “Information relating to what needs to be procured, conditions to be met by bidders, criteria to be use in assessing bids must be made available to all stakeholders-contractors, suppliers, service providers and general public unless there are valid and legal reasons for not revealing certain information as in case of security procurement”. He said the remuneration of procurement officers especially that of Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) needs to be brought at par with similar agencies like CBN, NDIC, PTAD, NNPC among others”
   
The former Head-BMPIU The Presidency, Prof. Kunle Ade Wahab, said, it is important to ensure that all the stakeholders understand the procurement law with all its perceived imperfections, know whom the law addressed and the requirement for updating the law by plugging all loopholes. He said, it is vital to review some of the provisions of the law in order to eliminate ambiguities and insert areas of new emphasis enabled by decided cases.
   
Special Adviser to Vice Chancellor on Projects, Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike, Chris Chukwurah, said leadership excesses skew the procurement process negatively and make authority figures to observe the public procurement Act in the breach.He said that the solution to corruptive inclination is to recruit matured chief executives for MDAs with proven integrity, trustworthiness, desired skills with appropriate human traits.
   
The representative of Director-General of BPP and Director of Compliance BPP, Engr. Ishaq Yahaya said that the roles of governance authorities of the procurement entity are central. He urged all players in the process to have desired skills, integrity, selflessness and personal maturity for the job.“Timeliness, integrity and hardworking would go a long way in growing the procurement industry. “Most of the challenges we have are the industry are political challenges, human challenges and the issue of integrity” he said. 


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Emeka MoumahNSE
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