Senate increases contracts mobilisation fee by 30%, amends procurement act
The Senate yesterday increased mobilisation fee of local contractors from 15 to 30 per cent in what it believes will reduce the bureaucratic issues that delay the execution of projects by amending the Procurement Act.
It also reduced the timeline for processing contracts award to two weeks, while it approved four days for issuance of certificates.
While considering the report, most senators argued that the current mobilisation fee for local contractors was inadequate and that it caused abandonment of contracts in the country.
Also, the issue of certificate of no objection generated heated debate among the senators resulting in the sharp division.
Most of those who spoke on the matter were divided over whether the certificate should be issued by heads of ministries, departments, and agencies (MDAs) or a special committee in the Bureau of Public Procurement.
Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, said what should be of concern to parliament is how to prevent delay in contract processing and award by giving a timeline for the necessary documents to be issued.
He said doing so was also a better way to avoid corruption.
However, other senators suggested having a representative from the Bureau of Public Procurement to be posted to the MDAs to be issuing certificates based on their various thresholds.
After much debate, members, however, agreed to use timeframe as a means of saving time and stopping corruption in contracts award.
They resolved that contracts should be processed within two weeks while the certificate should be issued within four working days.
On mobilisation of local contractors, the committee recommended not more than 20 per cent, but the Senate approved 30 per cent after much debate on the issue.
It, however, did not fix any percentage as mobilisation fee for foreign contractors because some senators argued that they should be ready to use their money for projects and get paid afterward.
Lawn expressed confidence that the procurement process would now be faster with the passage of the Public Procurement Act 2007 (amendments) Bill 2019.
He said the House of Representatives would concur before the Christmas break, so that President Muhammadu Buhari could sign it into law.
Chairman, Senate Committee on Procurement, Shuaibu Isa, while presenting his lead debate, said the various sections amended in the Act would revolutionise procurement process and contract award in the country.
Besides, the Senate urged the Service Chiefs and Inspector General of Police (IGP) to urgency beef up security and draft personnel to troubled areas of Niger State to ensure that Rafi, Shiroro and Magama communities recently attacked by bandits were protected from further attacks.
The lawmakers also urged the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) to provide relief materials to victims of the recent attacks in Niger State.
Meanwhile, representative of Kogi West Senatorial District, Smart Adeyemi, was sworn as lawmaker yesterday, a development that marked the exit of Dino Melaye from the red chamber.
It has paved way for Adeyemi to return for a third term after litigation that culminated in the Appeal Court ordering a re-run and a supplementary election by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC)
Lawan admitted Adeyemi during plenary, after taking the oath of office administered on him by Clerk of the Senate, Nelson Ayewoh.