Mr Emeka Ezeh
The Federal Government has so far saved a total sum of N350 billion from ongoing procurement reforms, Director-General, Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP), Mr Emeka Ezeh said Monday.
Speaking in Abuja at the opening of the fourth conversion training exercise for procurement officers in Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), Ezeh said the savings were enhanced by strict compliance with the provisions of the Public Procurement Act by BPP in the awards of contracts.
He said: “Our focus has been on the end result of the Act, which is ensuring that government gets value-for-money and that there is transparency and competition in the public contracting process.
“We have been assured over time that we can hardly make progress without due process being our watchword in the way we spend government money. This is one major way in which the much needed growth in infrastructure and utilities can be guaranteed.”
Eze noted that the training was aimed at building the capacity of personnel charged with the responsibility of ensuring the implementation of the Public Procurement Act, 2007.
According to him, the implementation of the procurement Act had provided a new level of freedom which had deepened the democratic culture as public officers were now beginning to see public funds as money to be spent with care and high sense of responsibility.
He said BPP would continue to develop this new culture for the sake of the present and future generations.
He said: “Experience has shown that improved quality of life partly comes when the people’s right to know and participate in how government spends public resources becomes entrenched. This does not only create the right framework for their support and engagement with the reform process, but also confirms that they are Bonaire owners of the policy.”
Continuing, he said: “It is the more reason why we have been involved in many awareness campaigns, workshops and interactive sessions with all categories of stakeholders. It is also the reason why we are committed to seeking further knowledge on the institutionalisation of procurement.”
Meanwhile, the Head of Service of the Federation, Isa Bello Sali, said it was because of the importance of procurement that his office supported all efforts of BPP to institutionalise the reforms, adding that the Procurement Act 2007 had led to tremendous improvement in expenditure and helped to curtail the award of contract based on personal and premedical interests.
Sali, who was represented by Alhaji Bashir Sambo said: “Even before Nigerian commenced procurement reforms, people have been complaint that the budget was not being implemented 100 per cent, therefore they can not now say that procurement is the problem.
“One problem we have is lack of planning. No budget can be fully implemented without a procurement plan. Government needs to look back and find out why budget implementation is at the level it is now,” Sali said.