Mr Labaran Maku,
By Dele Ogbodo
Minister of Information, Mr Labaran Maku, on Monday told the Senate to amend the Public Procurement Act in order to rectify the shoddy process involved with the procurement of projects by Ministries, Department and Agencies (MDAs).
Maku made the call when he appeared before the Joint Committee of the Senate and House of Representatives on Information and Media during the budget defence session of the 2013 Budget proposal for the ministry and its parastatals.
The minister stated that a review of the law would speed up the procurement process for improved budget performance by the MDAs.
He said: “The procurement law is in need of review. It is difficult for all MDAs doing new projects to conclude the process on time.
“If you look at the procurement law, you need to give about two months notice in adverts. If you cut down on the timeline for some of the provisions, you will still achieve the major objective of competitiveness, as well as value for money.”
He identified lack of sufficient funding as the major challenge affecting the effective discharge of the Ministry’s mandate. According to him, several programmes targeted at improving external publicity for the country were yet to take off due to lack of funds.
“We have not been able to conduct external publicity which is very important for the country because of limited resources. We haven’t been able to post information attaches to the major embassies as well as execute our mandate domestically because we don’t have sufficient resource,” he said.
According to him, the 2012 budget performance of the Ministry in terms of capital expenditure was 33 per cent while the parastatals posted more than 80 per cent. The Ministry of Information and all its parastatals presented a total budget proposal of N27.3 billion for 2013. N18.4 billion was proposed for personnel cost, N3.3 billion for overhead cost, while N5.4 is for capital expenditure.
The minister listed some the ministry’s priority in 2013 to include the implementation of the external publicity campaign and documentaries to showcase government’s activities in key sectors.
He pledged the preparedness of the ministry to put up a better budget implementation next year if the budget is passed early.