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ARCON, others demand improved public procurement Act

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President, Architects Registration Council of Nigeria (ARCON ),  Dipo Ajayi (left);   Chairman Senate Committee on Public Procurement,  Shuabu Lau and former Director General Bureau for Public Procurement  ( BPP ), Emeka Eze during a Public hearing on bills seeking to Amend the Public Procurement Act ( PPA ) in Abuja. 

Key players in the real estate sector, notably regulatory bodies and institutions are demanding an overhaul of the public procurement Act to ensure the performance of the construction industry.

They made the submission at a two-day public hearing on three bills (SB 106, SB 109 and SB 158) seeking to amend the Public Procurement Act (PPA) 2007 organised by the Senate Committee on Procurement last week in Abuja.

The bills are for an Act to amend the national council on public procurement and the Bureau of Public Procurement; an Act to amend the provisions of the public procurement Act 2007, to increase the mobilization fees paid to contractors and suppliers, and other matters related.

It also includes an Act to amend the public procurement Act, 2007 to provide for specific time frame for the procurement process/proceedings and for other matters connected therewith.

According to the sponsors, Senator Shuaibu Lau, Uche Ekunife and Sankara Danladi Abdullahi, “there are evident failures of the Act after 12 years, which shows clearly the limitations and constraints that continue to plague the nation in public procurement circles.

“This has adversely affected the construction industry in failed contracts, poor contractual performances, escalating corruption and incidence of collapsed buildings arising from loopholes in the Act, which allow quackery.”

In their submissions, while Architects Registration Council of Nigeria (ARCON) is seeking for inclusion of all seven professional regulatory bodies in the construction industry to strengthen and sustain the effectiveness of the procurement process, Nigerian Institute of Building (NIOB) want each of the professional bodies to be a members on rotation basis for a period of two years.

ARCON stated that the absence of the regulatory bodies largely accounted for the last 12 years of failure of the Act amongst other factors.

“The window offered by the sponsors of these proposed bills to amend the Act offers the construction industry opportunity to contribute to the consolidation of the gains of the exercise which will result into increase in the National Gross Domestic Product (GDP), thus leaving a lasting legacy,” ARCON Registrar, Umar Murnai said.

On the bill to increase the mobilization fees paid to contractors and suppliers, ARCON noted, “It is apt to reiterate the importance of the inclusion of the registered professional in respect of all procurement subject matters in the procurement process of the ecological fund and accordingly by the procuring entity. Moreso, a six months delay (180 days) in payment is financially injurious to any project, its time lines and ultimately the project outcomes.”

Similarly, to provide for specific time frame for the procurement process, ARCON proposed inclusion of a precondition evaluation template to be used by all procurement entities to ascertain their professional technical capacity.

“Which shall make it mandatory for procurement entities to refer to the appropriate subject matter and professional regulatory body on each project basis.”

Murnai said that the 60 days window for project planning of the procurement process by the procurement entity depends largely on the technical capacity of the procurement entity to handle the size in terms of number of staff input needs and technical inputs of subject matter by professionals.

“Where the procurement entity lacks the capacity then, the input of appropriate professional regulatory bodies should be sought and obtained to facilitate the attainment of the time frame. To forestall a gap in the initiation to completion of this process.”


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