A public procurement advocacy group, Network for the Actualization of Social Growth and Viable Development (NEFGAD) has decried that 70 percent of procurement proceedings are being initiated and concluded in the bedrooms of privileged few in the country, even as it
commended the Federal Government over plan to review the public procurement Act 2007 for possible amendments.
The group in a statement, signed by its head of office, Mr Akingunola Omoniyi and made available to Saturday in Abuja. said President Bola Tinubu has again demonstrated courage and tact in tackling one of the most vicious enemies of the country’s growth and development.
Akingunola stressed that ‘’the current Public Procurement Act enacted about 15 years ago is due for review in line with global best practices and changing operational dynamics in the public contracting sector.”
He noted that the Public Procurement in Nigeria has become an ‘anything goes’ phenomenon whereby everything and anything is possible maintaining that the Public Procurement Act in its current form is creating veneer of legality to blatant procurement illegality.
He said: “The Act as it stands has been so bastardised to such an extent that restricted/selective tendency is now a norm rather than exception with more than 70 percent of procurement proceedings being initiated and concluded in the bedrooms of privileged few on whom the Act placed so much supervisory and regulatory responsibilities. The implication of this dastardly act is that 70 percent of the contract sum ended up under the same bedroom through which the procurement proceedings emanated as against solving critical national developmental problems.”
Akingunola emphasised that the Public Procurement Act is not creating any obstruction or impediment to development as what some self serving elements will want the people to beleif, the only timeline set out by the Procurement Act is the mandatory six weeks newspaper advertisement period for bid solicitation, and the wisdom in this is to promote competitiveness that will ensure economy and value for money, all other timeline and processes are at the discretion of procuring entities.
The statement further emphasised that for the country to be littered with over 11,000 abandoned federal projects alone under a regulated procurement system shows that it is the corrupt few that are now regulating their pockets.
‘’One of the major contributing factor for the bastardization of the procurement system in the country is that successive governments are in the habit of enforcing the Procurement Act in breach by the non constitution of the National Procurement Council and appointing Director General for the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) through the back door of non-competitive selection.
Akingunola admonished president Tinubu not to consider the distractive proposal of some people making the President head of National Procurement Council, noting that presidents all over the world only sit to discuss policies and programmes not with contractors to debate contracts either at weekly Federal Executive Council or as Chairman of a National Procurement Council.
He also advised the government to enslaved stiffer sanctions against rampant mis-procurement particularly reverse-procurement whereby procurement proceedings are initiated and sometimes concluded without cash backing.