Considering the peculiarities surrounding the operations of the Nigerian Ports Authority, the management has solicited for an exemption from the provisions of the public procurement Act.
Managing director of NPA, Mallam Abdulgalam Mohammed, made this known in a meeting with members of the House Committee on Public Procurement who were on an oversight visit to NPA House, the corporate headquarters of the authority in Lagos.
He said there was need for a provision in the public procurement Act, which would grant special exemption to the authority in its procurement system.
According to him, the peculiarities of the operations of the authority has made it imperative to seek for special exemption under the procurement act as done to some other government agencies in the country.
“We are in a unique industry with our own peculiarities. The provisions of the act did not take into cognizance the authority’s peculiarities. I will recommend that special exemption is granted to the authority, as done to some other government agencies, because of the nature of our operations” he said.
He lauded the philosophy of the Federal Government’s Public Procurement Act, saying that the provisions of the act are presently most needed at this stage of the nation’s economic development. He, however, cautioned that bureaucratic bottle necks in its execution could frustrate the laudable objectives of the act.
On the implementation of the provisions of the act, by NPA, Mohammed explained that as a new government policy, the management has sensitised its workforce on the strict adherence of the provisions of the act in all procurement process.
He also stated that the authority has put in place all the stipulated requirements for the implementation of the policy. The requirements, he explained include the establishment of a procurement department headed by a General Manager establishment of a tender Board and the composition of a procurement planning committee.
The chairman of the committee, Hon. Yusuf Moutana Tugga, had earlier in his opening remarks expressed regret that public procurement before the enactment of the act has proven to be a drain pipe in the nation’s economy. He said the committee strongly believes that the first step to checking corruption in the system is to sanitise the public procurement system.
Tugga, however, admitted that being a fairly-new act, there was need to disseminate appropriate in formation on its provisions to ensure its familiarity amongst stakeholders.