Connect with us

Business

Understanding The Ethics Of Public Procurement

Published

on

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)

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Continue Reading

Business

FOI Act Implementation Bothers BPST Boss

Published

on

The Director-General, Bureau of Public Service Reforms, Dr Dasuki Arabi, has expressed regrets that the implementation of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) has remained very low since the law was enacted.
The BPSR boss made the observation during a workshop held on Wednesday in Abuja on the appraisal of Freedom of Information Act.
Arabi said the Act was meant to entrench transparency and openness in governance through improved compliance to annual reporting obligations of public institutions.
“It is also expected to guide and improve compliance of public institutions in proactive disclosure of mandatory publication requirements, as well as empower citizens, the right to access information held by the state.
“Regrettably, since the introduction of the FOI Act, it is evident that the level of compliance among public institutions still remains low.
“While the level of engagement by citizens still remains insignificant and in some cases fraught with misunderstanding between the State and Non-State actors,” he added.
Arabi, therefore, said that the workshop was to resolve some of the grey areas around FOI, as well as foster a harmonious relationship between the State and Non-State actors towards the implementation of the Act.
He said good governance and transparency would only thrive in the country when citizens access to Information is assured.
The DG emphasised that the FOIA provided platform for inclusiveness that sought to hold leaders to account and feed into the decision making process.
Arabi said that the Bureau had worked assiduously towards the implementation of the Act and was making efforts to ensure that it was institutionalized across the public sector.
He said that the interventions were in the areas of training public service workers and development of feedback mechanism through which a portal for application and responses for FOI request were deployed.
Others, he said, are score-card for ranking the performances of websites of public institutions using specific benchmarks, including FOI portal.
“Creating platforms for citizens engagement with Civil Societies Organizations on topical issues of government through the BPSR flagship programmes such as the monthly Lunchtime Seminar series,” he added.
Arabi said that the Bureau had also deployed information technology to provide innovative means to improve record keeping and management using intranet and Electronic Data Management Systems.
He continued that they were working in conjunction with the Nigeria Economic Summit Group to gauge the perception of citizens on public policies.
In her remarks, the National Coordinator, Open Government Partnership (OGP), Nigeria, Dr Gloria Ahmed, said making information open was a hallmark of democracy and a basic human right.
She said that the FOIA has given citizens the opportunity to access information as regards government policies and reforms.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Continue Reading

Business

FCTA Harmonises Mobile Adverts, Haulage System Against Double Taxation

Published

on

The Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA), Department of Outdoor Advertisement and Signage (DOAS), has launched the FCT/State Mobile Advertisement and Haulage permits for 2023 financial year.
Permanent Secretary, FCTA, Mr Olusade Adesola, while launching the system sought the cooperation of the business owners in the FCT, in order to achieve the objective of the initiative.
Adesola said the move was part of efforts to facilitate the ease of doing business drive in the nation’s capital.
He commended DOAS for the initiative. aimed at improving institutional cooperation and partnerships with the critical stakeholders.
Adesola warned: “FCTA would no longer tolerate acts of thuggery in the collection of taxes, as there are better ways of doing such, which will ensure the attainment of ease of doing business.”
He commended the leadership of Area Councils for resolving to synergise with DOAS to streamline the system.
The Permanent Secretary said the proliferation of collection authorities for mobile advertisements had led to serious loss of Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) in the FCT.
Earlier, the Executive Chairman, Kwali Area Council, Danladi Chiya, said although Area Councils have the constitutional right to collect such advertisements, they have no issue with FCTA over the establishment and mandate of DOAS.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Continue Reading

Business

LASG Begins Vehicle Parking Lanes Demacation

Published

on

The Lagos State Parking Authority (LASPA) has revealed it will today commence creating additional Vehicle Parking Lanes in some selected locations across the State.
The Authority stated that all efforts have been geared towards improving the parking system of the State.
Speaking on the planned initiative on Friday in Ikeja, the General Manager of LASPA, Mrs. Adebisi Adelabu, stated that the vehicle parking lane mark exercise, which will begin with designated streets within Surulere, Ikoyi, Lekki, Obalende, Ikeja and Victoria Island axis of the State, is a step towards improving street parking from 2023.
Adelabu noted that the Parking Lane Markings will further guide motorists and pedestrians on appropriate parking regulations and spaces, minimise indiscriminate parking, confusion and uncertainty, while conveying a range of information to residents on parking procedures within each specified environment.
According to her, the lane markings will also include special consideration for people living with disabilities and signposts for parking directives, among other features.
The General Manager, however, solicited the understanding of residents within the locations who might be affected by any inconvenience the process might cause, assuring that the government is working rigorously in regulating and improving the parking culture as part of its Traffic Management and Transportation Agenda to ensure parking is convenient, safe and secure across the state.
Recall that the Authority had recently unveiled plans to begin full implementation of parking policy in the second quarter of 2023 and has continued to sensitise the public on the need to embrace the parking culture.

By; Nkpemenyie Mcdominic, Lagos

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Continue Reading

Trending