Senate seeks urgent review of Public Procurement Act

Edwin Akwueh, Abuja

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The Nigerian Senate has expressed worry at the loopholes inherent in the 2007 Public Procurement Act, describing it as one of the major breeders of corruption that frustrate project implementation.

Senate consequently vowed to carry out holistic review of the Act as a way of sanitising the entire process of contracts and executions, within the next couple of months.

President of the Senate, Dr. Ahmad Lawan said the Act as it is presently, is frustrating as far as contracts awards and execution are concerned.

Dr. Lawan made the pledge while receiving the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, Mr. Boss Mustapha and Permanent Secretaries from the Presidency.

Holistic review
According to him, holistic review and amendments are urgently needed which will surely be kick started from the Senate very soon.

“The Public Procurement in Nigeria as far as I can see is not the best in the world. The Public Procurement must be reviewed and amended; we must see how we can make it more practical and holistic within the shortest possible time. 

“From the stage of bidding to mobilisation, the costing of any government contracts must be uniform in order to avoid imbalances and embarrassment in the processes. 

“A situation where about twenty agencies of government buy the same brand of vehicles at grossly different prices is not good. 

“Market prices must be determined and adhere strictly to, in ensuring that Nigerians are not short-changed through abuse of processes or over invoicing.

“Even the 15% mobilisation fee specified in the Act by realities on ground is more of demobilising contractors than mobilising them with attendant loopholes for fraudulent practices,” he said.

He stated that as part of the planned review, the 9th Senate would ensure that its standing Committee on Public Procurement would be composed of members who have the required knowledge and experience of the entire process.

“Our Public Procurement committee would be a very strong committee this time around. The cost of projects in Nigeria is mostly the highest in the world. We cannot continue like this, not in the face of very scarce resources. 

“So, we are going to insist that the Public procurement particularly is considered better than before.  If there should be a purchase of buses by ten or twenty Ministries, the cost must be uniform so that we don’t drag into crisis on what we buy. 

“The Procurement Committee when in place will make sure we work towards achieving this set agenda in order to avoid putting the public at disadvantaged position,” he explained.

The President of the Senate also commended the Government of the Federation, for bringing cordiality into both arms of governments, the executive and legislature adding that the pathways of understanding among the tiers of government will ease developmental stride of the present administration.

Mr. Mustapha applauded the President of the Senate for starting on a vibrant mood.

He said Nigerian project is of great importance to the present administration, urging members of the parliament to continue to strengthen the ties with other arms of government in order to achieve the set agenda of President Buhari’s administration in good time.

The Government of the Federation charged the Senators to always put the nation first, promising that the executive arm is determined to ensure a successful tenure of office for the leadership of the National Assembly and its members.

 

Sammie Idika