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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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Senate Confirms Cardoso, 11 Others As Monetary Policy Committee Members 

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The Senate has confirmed the nomination of Olayemi Cardoso as the chairman of the Monetary Policy Committee of the Central Bank of Nigeria.

Also confirmed for appointment as members of the MPC yesterday, include, Muhammad Abdullahi, (CBN deputy governor), Bala Bello (CBN deputy governor), Emem Usoro (CBN deputy governor), Philip Ikeazor (CBN deputy governor), Lamido Yuguda, (DG Securities and Exchange Commission) and Jafiya Lydia Shehu, (Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Finance).

Others are Murtala Sabo Sagagi (CBN director) Aloysius  Ordu, Aku Odukemelu, Mustapha Akinwunmi, and Bamidele Amoo.

President Bola Tinubu had on Wednesday named Cardoso as the chairman and 11 others as members of the MPC.

Tinubu in his letter of nomination to the Senate, said his action was in line with the provisions of Section 12 of the Central Bank of Nigeria Act 2007.

The President had about a week ago asked the Senate to confirm Cardoso, as the chairman of the Monetary Policy Committee of the apex bank.

CBN MPC will hold its first policy meeting for the year on February 26 and 27.

The Senate had , on Wednesday, screened the nominated members of the CBN Monetary Policy Committee, questioning them on the lingering foreign exchange and food crises.

 

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‘Unemployment Rate Hit 0.8% In 2023 Q3’

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The unemployment rate in Nigeria rose by 0.8percent in the third quarter of 2023.
According to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), this was a significant rise, adding that the unemployment rate rose from the 4.2percent recorded in Q2 2023 to 5.0 percent in Q3 2023.
The NBS, the custodian of official statistics in the country, disclosed this in a report it published last Monday titled “Nigeria Labour Force Survey Q3 2023”.
“The employment-to-population ratio was 75.6 percent in Q3 2023 with a decrease of 1.5 percent compared to a ratio of Q2 2023.
“The combined rate of unemployment and time-related underemployment as a share of the labour force population (LU2) increased to 17.3percent in Q3 2023 from 15.5percent in Q2 2023.
“About 87.3 percent of workers were self-employed in Q3 2023. The proportion of workers in Wage Employment in Q3 2023 was 12.7 percent.
“The unemployment rate increased significantly in Q3 2023 at 5.0 percent. This is an increase of 0.8 percent from Q2 2023.
“The rate of unemployment among persons with post-secondary education was 7.8 percent in Q3 2023”, the report stated in part.
It added that the unemployment rate for youth between the ages of 15 and 24 years was recorded at 8.6 per cent in Q3 2023 while the informal employment rate in Q3 2023 was 92.3 per cent.
The report added, “The unemployment rate in urban areas was 6.0 percent percentin Q3 2023, a slight increase of 0.1 percent from Q2 2023.
“Time-related underemployment in Q3 2023 was 12.3 percent, showing a slight increase of 0.5 percent from the rate recorded in Q2 2023. This shows an increase of 1.4 percent compared to the rate in Q4 2022.
“4.1percent of the working-age population was in subsistence agriculture in Q3 2023. Informal employment rate in Q3 2023 was 92.3percent, while Q2 2023 was 92.7percent.
“Percentage of youth Not in Employment, Education or Training was 13.7percent in Q3 2023”.
Recall that Nigeria’s inflation rate last Thursday climbed to 29.90 per cent in January 2024 from 28.92 per cent recorded in the previous month.
The 0.98 percent increase shows that the inflation rate in the country is yet to slow down.
The NBS revealed this in its ‘Consumer Price Index’
The development adds more pressure on the Central Bank’s monetary policy committee to sharply raise interest rates at a February  26-27 meeting its first in seven months.

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Merchant Navy Lauds NIWA Over Staff Welfare

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The Nigerian Merchant Navy Officers and Water Transport Senior Staff Association (NMNO/WTSSA) has expressed optimism that the Managing Director of National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA), Mr. Bola Oyebamiji, will prioritise workers welfare for optimal performance of the agency.
Jibril Darda’u, General Manager, Corporate Affairs, NIWA, in a statement over the weekend, disclosed that the seafarers’ union’s remarks are one of the highlights of the meeting between the Trade Union Congress (TUC) affiliate group and management of the agency.
The statement quoted the Chairman of the NMNO/WTSSA, Comrade Suleiman Danjuma, as commending the Managing Director of NIWA for the good initiative of the kind of interaction that brings the staff closer to the management.
“This will definitely boost the morale of the staff and pledge their loyalty and confidence in the Managing Director’s leadership style”, Danjuma stated.
Earlier, the Managing Director of NIWA promised to build on the progress already achieved at the Lokoja River Port, Kogi State.
The MD disclosed this when he went on a familiarisation tour of NIWA’s facilities in Lokoja.
According to the MD, the importance of Lokoja River Port being in the confluence State is to boost the economic viability of the State and Nigeria at large.
“We are here for facility tour to see for ourselves what is on ground at Jamata Port, Lokoja. It is important we come here to assess the facilities to see, at least, how we can move the facilities forward”, he stated.
Recall that in continuation of his familiarisation tour, the Managing Director’s visited the NIWA Lokoja Area office to inspect the Dockyard facilities.

Nkpemenyie Mcdominic, Lagos

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