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Nigerian news: Civil society groups brainstorm on public procurement act

The Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) organized a one-day Second National Sensitization and Enlightenment Programme on the Public Procurement Act 2007 for the North West Zone, which was recently held at the Command Guest House, Kaduna .

The session was attended by over 300 participants drawn from Civil Society Organizations, BPP, professional groups of engineers, quantity surveyors, architects, builders, contractors, suppliers, the academia, media from Kaduna, Katsina, Zamfara, Sokoto, Kano Jigawa and Kebbi states.

The Executive Governor of Kaduna State represented by the Honourable Commissioner for Economic Planning, John Beza declared the event open while the Director- General of BPP, Engineer Emeka M. Ezeh, who was represented by Dr. Ayo Aderibigbe, gave the keynote address.

There were three presentations which include; “Introduction to Public Procurement Act 2007” by Ezeh Onyenkpere; “The Role of Law in Public Procurement and Combating Corruption in Nigeria” by Professor Mohammed T. Ladan; and, “Civil Society Participation in the Public Procurement” by Abubakar Aliyu.

The presentations were followed by an interactive session in which participants raised and discussed issues on the procurement process.

The participants at the sensitization and enlightenment programme after detailed examination of the issues and implications of the Public Procurement Act observed that:

1.     The promulgation of the Public Procurement Act is a welcome development, but remains largely an initiative of the Federal Government without such a legislation replicated at the level of the States and Local Governments

2.     The effort of the BPP to embark on a sensitization programme involving all stakeholders is a welcome development that is, for the moment, taking place at the geopolitical zones

3.     The involvement of civil society, professional groups and interest groups is important to the process of sustaining a credible procurement process and combating corruption in Nigeria

4.     The content of the BPP Act appear sufficiently broad to institute and promote a culture of transparency and accountability in the procurement process and is critical to the creation of a level playing field for stakeholders

5.     The Public Procurement Act has not been domesticated at the level of the States and Local Governments in order to deepen the process through all strata of government as resolved by the State Governors

6.     The Federal Government has not inaugurated the BPP Council to enable it to function effectively as the policy making body on procurement in Nigeria

7.     The representations of the media, professional groups and civil society organizations on the Governing Council of the BPP is a major step towards maintaining a credible procurement system in Nigeria

The participants having made the observations above resolved that:

1.     The issue of Public procurement Act should not be left to the Federal Government alone as all levels of government should speedily implement the process

2.     The BPP should continue with the current sensitization exercise across the country through the states and local governments in order to broaden the base of support for a credible and sustainable procurement process

3.     More civil society organizations, professional groups and the media should be further empowered to engage and monitor the procurement process for broad based effectiveness

4.     The Public Procurement process should be sustained to ensure the promotion of a level playing field in which all contractors and suppliers, whether big or small, have a chance to contribute to the development of the national economy and effective service delivery to the people

5.     All state governors should redeem their pledge and expedite the process of promulgating a public procurement legislation in their states and also encourage their local governments to do so. The participants commend the Kaduna State Government for spearheading this process

6.     The Federal, State and Local Governments need to come together to build synergy on the procurement process for the dividends of democracy to reach the people

7.     There is the need for the Federal government to immediately inaugurate the Governing Council of the BPP to enable it to function more effectively

8.     There is need for the government to translate the PPA into various Nigerian languages for wider dissemination, acceptability and coverage

Participants expressed their appreciation to the organizers and the Kaduna State Government for their hospitality.

Signed by:

1.Engr. Emeka M. Ezeh                     
Director General                    
Bureau of Public Procurement

2. Abdullahi Musa
Senior Procurement Officer, Due Process Office, Kaduna

3.Auwal I.Musa Rafsanjani,Coordina tor North West