Council on Procurement:Experts urge Jonathan to show political will



President Jonathan

Participants at a roundtable on public procurement have urged President Goodluck Jonathan to show political will by inaugurating the  National Council on Public Procurement as required by the Public Procurement Act.This call was made a day after Nigeria’s Senate urged  the President to stop illegal award of contracts without the NCPP in place.The senate specifically urged the president to inaugurate the NCPP now!

A communiqué at the end of today’s roundtable organized by Procurement Observation  and Advocacy Initiative ,PRADIN in part  said that “The President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan should develop the political will and constitute, as well as, inaugurate the National Council on Public Procurement as part of the transformation agenda of the present administration and for the good of social and economic development of Nigeria.

The communiqué signed  by Babatunde Oluajo,Zero Corruption Coalition,Comrade Aliyu Abdulhakeem Musa,Trade Union Congress,Isa Keffi,Nasaraws State University, Keffi,Eunice Ifediora,Procurement Observation Advocacy and Dr. Raphael Oko,Global Education for All Initiative also said, “The Council when constituted should be supported by government to ensure that qualified professionals are employed as Director General and principal officers of the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) in line with sections 7(1) AND 7(2) (C) of the PPA and Section 11(9) of the CIPSMN Act to help in addressing corruption and in line with the President’s vision that professionals will drive his administration.

The roundtable also urged government  to  put an end to the formation of Committees and Task Force that always duplicate and contradicts each other and whose functions are already clearly spelt out in the National Council on Public Procurement.

It added that “As a matter of patriotism and service to fatherland, the three arms of government should endeavor to always work within the content of the laws as obtained in the procurement Act.

And as a demonstration on the part of government to fighting corruption, public procurement laws should be a central guide in the public service to effectively fight corruption and reduce it to its minimal level.”

Te experts also  made the call that “government should as a matter of urgency ensure that the CIPSMN qualifications are in the scheme of service in the Nigeria civil service rather than CIPS United Kingdom currently in usen(and that ) Government should henceforth adhere to strict implementation of the Public Procurement Act 2007 and allow relevant and competent professional bodies and civil society play their roles, eschewing politicization and undue media propaganda on procurement matters.

Read the full text of the Communique below:

Communiqué on a One-Day Roundtable on Subsidy Reinvestment Regime and Public Procurement in Nigeria Adopted on Thursday March 1, 2012

PREAMBLE

Participants from across Nigeria representing the three tiers of Nigerian Government, Professional Bodies, Anti-Corruption Agencies, The Military, civil society organizations represented by Organised Labour, Nigeria Union of Journalists and Non-Governmental Organizations converged at the Merit House, Maitama, Abuja on Thursday March 1st 2012 for a Roundtable Colloquium on the theme “Subsidy Reinvestment Regime and Public Procurement in Nigeria”

The event was organized by Procurement Observation and Advocacy Initiative (PRADIN), a select group of civil society actors trained under the Federal Government of Nigeria-World Bank’s economic Reform and Governance Project (ERGP).

OBJECTIVES

The primary objectives of the Roundtable discourse include:

 

  1. To enlighten the public on the importance of transparency in Public Procurement through the as an anti-corruption strategy through the application of the extant laws:
  2. To critically examine the SURE-P of the Federal Government and its place within the existing Public Procurement Act
  3. To provide a platform that will create awareness on the Public Procurement Act as a good governance tool for combating large scale corruption in the public sector
  4. To add voice for the consistent agitation by civil society organizations, professionals and the National Assembly for the inauguration of the National Council on Public Procurement
  5. To complement the Federal Government’s Economic Transformation Agenda via sound procurement practice.

OBSERVATIONS

After careful deliberations on the subject matter by the participants, the following observations were made:

  1. Over a period of time, the successive regimes since 2007 have failed to realize the implication of not constituting the national Council on Public Procurement and this has created more corruption in the public than ever before.
  2. Those saddled with the responsibility of driving the procurement process in Nigeria, particularly the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) have not demonstrated sufficient capacity and commitment to move the process forward.
  3. Since the Public Procurement Act was signed into law on June 19, 2007 it has not been fully tested to date due to the absence of the Council as contained in Section 1 of the Act.
  4. Both the Executive, Legislative and Judicial arms of government have consistently conducted their affairs in a manner that is violation of the Act.
  5. Independent research by CSOs has shown that misapplication in public procurement accounts for over 60% of the entire corruption in the public service.
  6. There are deliberate actions on the part of the Executive to frustrate the inclusion of academic qualifications as it relates to professional in procurement.
  7. Government continued to undermine the space provided in the procurement law for competent professional bodies and civil society to effectively participate in procurement processes and resort to politicization and media propaganda on procurement issues.
  8. As a result of the violations of the Public Procurement Act, as well as inadequate capacity and commitment on the part of the drivers of the process, some states governments are also towing the lines of the Federal Government to enact anti-people laws.
  9. The PPA 2007 as presently existing is adequate to stop corruption in the procurement system in Nigeria if strictly implemented by competent institutions and calls for its amendment is premature
  10. The BPP as presently constituted is an illegality without the constitution of the National Council of Procurement which is empowered by law to appoint a Director-General to head it.

RESOLUTIONS

In the light of the above observations, participants therefore resolved as follows:

  1. The President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan should develop the political will and constitute, as well as, inaugurate the National Council on Public Procurement as part of the transformation agenda of the present administration and for the good of social and economic development of Nigeria.
  2. The Council when constituted should be supported by government to ensure that qualified professionals are employed as Director General and principal officers of the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) in line with sections 7(1) AND 7(2) (C) of the PPA and Section 11(9) of the CIPSMN Act to help in addressing corruption and in line with the President’s vision that professionals will drive his administration.
  3. Government should put an end to the formation of Committees and Task Force that always duplicate and contradicts each other and whose functions are already clearly spelt out in the National Council on Public Procurement
  4. As a matter of patriotism and service to fatherland, the three arms of government should endeavor to always work within the content of the laws as obtained in the procurement Act.
  5. And as a demonstration on the part of government to fighting corruption, public procurement laws should be a central guide in the public service to effectively fight corruption and reduce it to its minimal level.
  6. Government should as a matter of urgency ensure that the CIPSMN qualifications are in the scheme of service in the Nigeria civil service rather than CIPS United Kingdom currently in use.
  7. Government should henceforth adhere to strict implementation of the Public Procurement Act 2007 and allow relevant and competent professional bodies and civil society play their roles, eschewing politicization and undue media propaganda on procurement matters.
  8. States that have passed the procurement laws or are in the process of passing same should ensure that no anti-people provisions are contained in the Acts as a mark of transparency and commitment to service to the people.
  9. Nigerians should insist on strict implementation of the PPA 2007 as is presently crafted to discover any gaps before any forms of amendment can be envisaged to avoid creating opportunity for corrupt interested parties to dilute its provisions and render it impotent.

CONCLUSION

The Roundtable discussion rounded up with the participants’ appreciation of PRADIN for creating awareness on the Subsidy Reinvestment Regime and Public Procurement in Nigeria. The participants described the discussion as unique and timely as it would assist the Federal Government in achieving the Transformation Agenda.

The participants however noted that the success of the subsidy reinvestment regime would depend so much on the adherence to the Public Procurement Act 2007 including the inauguration of the National Council on Public Procurement.

Signed;

Babatunde Oluajo                    –                  Zero Corruption Coalition

Comrade Aliyu Abdulhakeem Musa  –        Trade Union Congress

Isa Keffi                                –                      Nasaraws State University, Keffi

Eunice Ifediora                     –                      Procurement Observation Advocacy

Dr. Raphael Oko                  –                      Global Education for All Initiative

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