By YUSUF BABALOLA, Lagos
The federal government yesterday threatened to sanction civil servants who contravene provisions of the public procurement act, saying government would no longer allow the public procurement become a source of frequent embarrassment to the nation.
Speaking at the opening ceremony of the 2017 second batch procurement officers’ conversion training organised by the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP), held at the Administration and Staff College of Nigeria (ASCON), Badagry, Lagos, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Gida Mustapha stated that some government agencies’ procurement process are fraught with malpractices.
Mustapha who was represented by the director, Lagos Liaison Office of the SGF, Dr Shade Caiafas explained that the training will gear procurement officers towards full compliance with Public Procurement Act 2007, especially in those agencies located outside Abuja where the BPP regular oversight may be difficult to implement.
“Permit me to stress the fact that government can no longer accept a situation where public procurements become a source of frequent embarrassment to the nation. They do not help the nation’s image neither do they inspire the confidence of the citizenry in government.
“Let me therefore state here that government will not hesitate to invoke all the sanctions of the public procurement act 2007 against any public officer who contravenes any provisions of the law.” The SGF also stated that anti-graft agencies are investigating cases of infractions and manipulation of the procurement process.
He said, “It might interest you to know that Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) are currently investigating cases of infractions which include but not limited to collusion amongst bidders, use of fake documents, false claims by contractors and supplier and manipulation of the procurement process.
“Any public officers found to have colluded with unscrupulous contractors, consultants or service providers to defraud or short-change the federal government shall be dealt with I accordance with the law. I therefore urge all public officers involved in the public procurement process to conduct themselves with the highest sense of responsibility, accountability, ethics and integrity.”
Speaking earlier, the director-general of the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP), Mamman Ahmadu said the review of contract awarded by Ministries, Departments and Agencies of the government had saved it huge sums of money. Mamman who was also represented by the director, training and research, Mr. Adebowale Adedokun observed that a sound procurement system prevents corruption.
He said, “Globally, public procurement is recognised as a tool for good governance considering the immense benefits derivable from a sound procurement system and its role in the prevention of corruption. The BPP’s prior review of contracts awarded by MDA’s has saved the nation huge sums. Nevertheless, more than these savings, the procurement system has become sanitized, earning the nation a more positive image.
“In line with Nigeria’s country statement made by Mr. President at the 2016 London Anti-Corruption Summit and the country’s commitment on open government partnership, the Bureau has just developed an Open Contracting Portal named NOCOPO which won a global government innovation award in the area of Open Contracting in 2017.
“In other words, this signifies an era of increase transparency and the drive of this government to ensure better accountability in the area of public expenditure management. Therefore, this training is part of the programme of the Bureau to build the institutional capacity of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDA) of the Federal Government to implement procurement reforms.”
The training which is expected to hold for the next two weeks, has Resource persons drawn from both the Bureau and other agencies of government, and is aimed at bringing procurement personnel in the MDA’s to the same page with their counterparts in other parts of the world.
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