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Understanding The Ethics Of Public Procurement

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Speech presented at the second phase of National Sensitisation and Enlightenment Programme on the Public Procurement Act 2007 In Port Harcourt

This sensitisation season marks another phase of our efforts at creating awareness amongst the citizenry on the principles and importance of public procurement. We made progress in this regard last year and we are continuing this year. It is important to continue to tell our people what we need to gain by following procedures in public contracting, so that we can make the much desired social, economic and political progress. I am optimistic, like I do know many of you are that we shall sooner than later take Nigeria to the promised land.

Let me, however, tell again how we got to where we are, so that we can understand the present and probably interpret the future. The Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) was established in 2007 following the signing into law of its enabling act by President Umar Musa Yar’Adua. It was the first act to be signed into law by the new president. The Bureau developed through the former office of Budget Monitoring and Price Intelligence Unit (BMPIU), established in 2001 by the former President Olusegun Obasanjo.

The bureau emerged because of the need to check the open abuse of rules and standards in the award and execution of public contracts in Nigeria. The abuses were evident in over-invoicing, inflation of contract costs, proliferation of white-elephant projects and diversion of public funds through all kinds of manipulations of the contract system. The implication of these lapses in the country’s procurement system over the years was the abandonment of governments projects after large sums of money have been paid out to contractors from public funds. Above all, it brought about endemic corruption, poor service delivery, poverty and denial of social amenities to the people.

The vision of the BPP is to restore transparency, competition, competence, integrity and value for money in the award and execution of public contracts in Nigeria. The BPP, therefore, implements a Procurement Reform Agenda that uses what can be called a Due Process Mechanism to restore and maintain openness, competition, budgetary discipline, optimal costs and efficient projects implementation in a planned and coordinated framework.

The BPP has long being involved in several sensitisation efforts across the country. With the support of the WorId Bank Economic Reform and Governance (ERGP) project, the bureau, has been educating the Nigerian populace on the importance of implementing best procurement practices. There have been and would continue to be newspaper adverts, journal publications, Radio and TV jingles on the activities of the bureau and on details of the public procurement act. The bureau has also been organising conferences so the nation can expand their understanding of the ethics of public procurement. One such conference, an international one, was recently held between June 29th and 30th in Abuja. It was attended by resource persons from across sections of the world and it afforded us an opportunity to compare notes with other countries, so that we can benefit from their procurement experiences and they might also gain from us. The sensitisation, education and public awareness processes are continuing in the interest of establishing best procurement practices consciousness amongst the citizenry. This would eventually lead to a change in attitude and then an attendant development of the countries’ institutions.

For the bureau to achieve its objectives, it has been consistent in insisting on the need for probity, transparency and accountability within its management. The leadership has often emphasised the need to show example by ensuring that what is preached is implemented in the bureau. The bureau’s officials have often been educated on the need not to compromise their integrity in the course of their duties. The bureau hopes to achieve its aim through ensuring forthrightness in its activities and through constant training and retraining of its staff.

As a new policy, the implementation of the Procurement reforms has continued to generate fears, debates and concerns in some quarters. Experience has showed that there are some elites who have a good understanding of what the bureau stands for and are, therefore, ready to help it work. There are also those who genuinely do not understand its modus operandi, which is why the bureau has been painstaking in sensitisation and in creating awareness.

At the same time, there are beneficiaries of the old order, who understands the multiple benefits of the public procurement reform policy but deliberately and out of self and narrow interest, choose to misinform, misrepresent, vilify and condemn the genuine intentions of government with the goal of frustrating the idea. Some politicians are also unrelenting in trying to prevent the proper operations of the bureau, but we have been sustained by the determination of the President Umar Yar’Adua’s anti-­corruption stand and are assured of the need to steady our gait in falling in line.

The bureau has commenced its constitutional responsibility to ensure that all the provisions of the Public Procurement Act are strictly followed in the award and execution of all government contracts. Intensive public enlightenment campaigns on procedures in contract award and execution by MDAs and the role of stakeholders including contractors, consultants and, the general public are ongoing through the BPP jingles on radio and television stations. The bureau’s audit monitoring of the budget as constitutionally guaranteed, is also ongoing as part of a holistic attempt at ensuring a successful fiscal policy.

Other than that, the bureau is presently organising workshops for stakeholders in different government ministries and departments. The first was held July 27th and 28th for procurement personnel in the Federal Ministry of Works and- Housing. It is continuing as it would also be done for other ministries. Once again, I welcome us all and wish us all successful interactive session.

Eze is the Director-General, Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP)

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CBN Releases N756bn To Over 3m Farmers To Boost Food Security

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The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), says it has released the sum of N756.51 billion to 3,734,938 small holder farmers, cultivating 4.6 million hectares of land, to boost the Federal Government’s food security initiative.
Mr Godwin Emefiele, the CBN Governor, made this known while presenting a communiqué from the bank’s recently held, 280th meeting of its Monetary Policy Committee (MPC).
Emefiele said that N120.24 billion of the sum was extended for the 2021 wet season to 627,051 farmers for 847,484 hectares of land, under the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP).
“The sum of N121.57 billion was disbursed to 32,617 beneficiaries.
“For the Targeted Credit Facility (TCF), N318.17 billion was released to 679,422 beneficiaries, comprising 572,189 households and 107,233 Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs),’’ he said.
Emefiele revealed that the apex bank also expended huge sums in its youth investment scheme, to empower Nigerian youths, and to reduce unemployment by providing to the creative sector and Information Technology.
“Under the National Youth Investment Fund (NYIF), the Bank released N3.0 billion to 7,057 beneficiaries, of which 4,411 were individuals and 2,646 SMEs.
“Under the Creative Industry Financing Initiative (CIFI), N3.22 billion was disbursed to 356 5 beneficiaries across movie production, movie distribution, software development, fashion, and IT verticals,’’ he said.
The CBN Governor also revealed that the apex bank had invested close to N1trillion to boost the real sector of the economy, covering 251 real sector projects.
He said that the bank’s intervention also spanned health sector support initiatives and electricity distribution.
“Under the N1.0 trillion Real Sector Facility, the Bank released N923.41 billion to 251 real sector projects, of which 87 were in light manufacturing, 40 in agro-based industry, 32 in services and 11 in mining.
“On the N100 billion, Healthcare Sector Intervention Facility (HSIF), N98.41 billion was disbursed for 103 health care projects, of which, 26 are pharmaceuticals and 77 are in the hospital services.
“Similarly, the sum of N232.54 million was disbursed to five beneficiaries under the CBN Healthcare Sector Research and Development Intervention (Grant) Scheme (HSRDIS) for the development of testing kits and devices for COVID-19 and Lassa Fever.
“On the National Mass Metering Programme (NMMP), N36.04 billion was disbursed to 17 Meter Asset Providers to nine Distribution Companies (DisCos), for the procurement and installation of 657,562 electricity meters,’’ Emefiele said.

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Siat Assures Host Communities Of Fair Deal … Offers 15 Varsity Students Scholarships

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As part of its Corporate Social Responsibility to its host communities, an agro-allied company located in Rivers State, Siat Nigeria Limited, has assured that it would continue to cater for the wellbeing and needs of the indigenes of the communities where it is doing business even as it has offered undergraduate scholarship awards to 15 students from the areas.
The company, which gave the assurance during the presentation of scholarship awards to the students at its corporate headquarters in Ubima Community in Ikwerre Local Government Area recently, said it would continue to promote a harmonious working relationship with its host communities and strive as much as possible to contribute to their growth and development.
The Managing Director of the company, Mr Felix Nwabuko, who gave the indication in an address during the company’s this year’s undergraduate scholarship programme, said the scholarship initiative is just one of the corporate social responsibility lined up by the company for its host communities.
According to him, the university scholarship award is intended to assist and encourage students of the host communities in the areas of Agriculture, Agricultural Economics, Accounting and Engineering.
While congratulating the beneficiary students on their success during the scholarship examination, Nwabuko noted that they are by this award, ambassadors of not only their communities but Siat Nigeria Limited, and urged them to exhibit good behaviour throughout the duration of their university education.
“It is our fervent belief that the beneficiaries will avail themselves of this singular opportunity and study hard to become good citizens of not only the communities they came from but the society at large”, he said.
Nwabuko commended the government at both the state and local levels for providing the enabling environment for the company’s operations as well as the peace the firm has enjoyed from the host communities.
He noted with delight that despite the Covid-19 pandemic, and its associated harsh economic effects, Siat Nigeria Limited did not lay off its workers like other companies including banks, stressing that it was because the company took into consideration the excellent relationship and goodwill it has with the host communities.
The beneficiaries of the scholarship were drawn from the company’s Ubima and Elele estates.
The first round of the scholarship programme took place in 2016 and the beneficiaries, according to the company, have all graduated.

By: Donatus Ebi

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AKK Project Will Enhance Gas Utilisation For Industrialisation – Buhari

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President Muhammadu Buhari says successful completion of the Ajaokuta-Kaduna-Kano, AKK Project in 2023 would enhance domestic gas utilisation as the mainstay for national industrialisation.
Buhari stated this at the opening ceremony of the 2021 Gas Sector Stakeholders (AKK) Forum organised by the Gas Aggregation Company Nigeria (GACN) yesterday in Kano.
He was represented by the Minister of State for Petroleum, Timipre Sylva.
“Today’s event reinforces our commitments to realizing the inherent potentials of gas usage as a national catalyst for achieving economic diversification from crude oil and as transition period to the renewable energy,” he said.
He revealed that the project would also increase government revenue and create more jobs opportunities for the unemployed Nigerians.
The President said that many companies had been shut down due to power supply problem across the country.
He explained that it would take two to three years to reactivate those industries to their optimal performance.
Buhari also said that the Federal Government has reduced the price of gas from 2 dollars 50 cents to 2 dollars 18 Cents.
“Let me use this medium to announce that following successful negotiations between Federal Government of Nigeria and organized unions, the price of gas has been reduced from $2.50 Cents to $2.18 Cents, with immediate effects,” he said.
He said that all the relevant stakeholders had been communicated on the issue.
Also speaking, the Group Managing Director of NNPC, Mr Mele Kyari, said that the AKK project had been on the drawing board for the past 30 years.
Kyari said when completed, it would provide enough gas for both domestic and export purposes.
“Nigeria has huge gas resources, gas means prosperity and delivering gas is an opportunity creation,” he said.
He pointed out that the project would revive about 232 industries along AKK corridor.
In his remarks, the Emir of Kano, Alhaji Aminu Ado-Bayero, commended the Federal Government for the project, which he said, would also assist to enhance socioeconomic activities in the state.

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