By Dwelleth Morountodun
The Head of the Civil Service of the Federation (HoS), Dr. Folashade Yemi- Esan, has reiterated the need for professionalism, compliance with global best practices and the provisions of the Public Procurement Act (PPA), 2007.
She stated this at the opening ceremony of a 2-Day Procurement Retreat for Federal Permanent Secretaries, Accountant-General of the Federation (AGoF) and the Auditor General for the Federation (AGfF), at an annual event, with the theme “Strengthening Public Procurement for Optimal Effectiveness.”
The retreat, which is being organized by the Bureau of Public Procurement, in collaboration with the Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, is taking place in Uyo, Akwa- Ibom State and expected to end today (Saturday), May 28,2022.
Yemi- Esan, reminded the participants that “public procurement is a key function of government and that the law regulating it, in Nigeria, exists to ensure that public funds and resources are responsibly utilised with the objective of obtaining value for money being spent.”
While calling for the alignment of the Executive Order 11, with the Public Procurement Act (PPA), She reiterated on the need to put an end to every form of touting, adding that it has become it has become imperative to encourage Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs), in order to promote local content, curb capital flight and grow the economy.
The HoS cited the Executive Order 11 (EO11), maintenance of national public buildings, which directly tied maintenance with the country’s economy.
In line with capacity building and talent management, as well as performance management being vital pillars of the Federal Civil Service Strategy and Implementation Plan (FCSSIP) 2021-2025, she urged for demonstrable commitment in addressing capacity gaps of all officers involved in the procurement cycle, adding that they must be shown through frequent and adequate training, retraining, tooling and retooling and performance assessment.
She advised the Chief Accounting Officers to exercise greater scrutiny and discretion prior to granting approvals for the award of contracts, which must be within the approved thresholds and in total conformity with other extant financial instruments.
In his remarks, the Governor of Akwa-Ibom State, Mr. Udom Emmanuel, who was represented by the Deputy Governor, Mr. Moses Ekpo, commended the OHCSF and BPP for keeping with tradition of the annual retreat, aimed at ensuring strict adherence to public procurement processes.
Emmanuel, viewed public procurement as an indispensable and sensitive tool that must be properly deployed for the betterment of any economy. It must reflect public concerns, efficiency, transparency, cost effectiveness and above all, give value for money expended.
The Executive Governor added that prior to the signing of the Public Procurement Act, in 2007, corruption in public procurement, according to reports, accounted for sizeable fractions of government’s total spendings.
This, he said was perpetuated by some self- centered Public Officers, who exploited the absence of a functional legislation and enforcement structure to orchestrate it, which, according to him, grossly affected the efficiency of public expenditure and the opportunity to improve the economy, as well as impact on the lives of Nigerians, positively.
He further disclosed that in Akwa-Ibom State had effectively domesticated a regulated procurement culture, when the State House of Assembly passed the Akwa Ibom State Public Procurement Law for assent, in July, 2020.
The law has since had a measurable and positive impact on the economy of the State by streaming lining the procurement of goods, public works and services, likewise the disposal of goods and assets.
He informed the participants that enforcement of this single piece of legislation had been the major reason for an upsurge in the infrastructural development of the State in the last lap of his Administration.
In his goodwill message, the Chairman, Senate Committee on Public Procurement, Senator Bwacha Emmanuel, identified with the theme, stressing that it is quite apt and in tandem with the principle of good governance.
He urged the participants to critically re- examine all provisions of the PPA that need to be amended for the urgent attention of the National Assembly.
According to him, “the Retreat will give us the opportunity to robustly x-ray the Public Procurement Processes, in order to find ways and methods to strengthen them for optimal effectiveness without compromising due process.”
The statement was signed by Mohammed A. Ahmed, Deputy Director (Communications), HoS.