Senate Passes Bill to Compel FG to Patronise Nigerian Products

• ’Ajaokuta steel can produce in full capacity’

Omololu Ogunmade in Abuja

The Senate on Thursday passed an amendment to Public Procurement Act 2007 with provisions which mandate governments at all levels to patronise locally-manufactured products.

The bill was passed after the consideration of the report of the Senate Committee on Public Procurement presented by its Chairman, Senator Joshua Dariye (Plateau Central).

Tagged ‘A Bill for an Act to Amend the Public Procurement Act to Provide for and Adopt a Local Content Policy and Timely Completion of Procurement Processes and Other Related Matters,’ the bill provides amendments to some sections of the 2007 Procurement Act with the intention to promote the purchase of locally manufactured goods and also ensure speedy completion of projects.

Presenting the report, Dariye said the bill amended Section 15(1) of the Act by inserting additional clauses to close the gap created by the Act “as we have witnessed in the recent arms procurement saga.”

He added: “Similarly, the issue of disposal which is an integral aspect of procurement has been aptly captured by the amendment in the new sub-clause 1(e). The committee has equally sustained the amendments of section 34(1,2) sought by the bill for the purpose of patronizing made in Nigeria goods: this will go a long way to encourage our Nigerian manufacturers.

“The amendment proposed by the bill in section 35 is to review upwards the mobilisation fee from 15 per cent to 25 per cent that may be paid to a supplier or contractor. This is aimed at enhancing timely completion of Procurement Processes at various phases.”

The Senate also approved the inclusion of Nigerian Institution of Architects and the Nigerian Institute of Quantity Survey as Members of the National Council on Public Procurement.
After adopting the committee’s report and the subsequent conclusion of clause-by-clause consideration, the bill passed third reading and was proclaimed as passed.

In his remark, Senate President Bukola Saraki said the new amendments would enhance the nation’s economy.
“We all have a role to play to ensure that the Executive comply especially in the area of giving first priority to locally produced goods. This is has helped many countries to develop when they had issues of downturn in their economy.
“One of the things that we have done today is also trying to shorten the process of awarding contracts; this will go a long way in helping budget implementation. It would go a long way in ensuring that most of the funds are available as quickly as possible and jobs are actually completed. I want to commend my colleagues for passing this bill,” he said.

Also yesterday, the Sole Administrator of Ajaokuta Steel Company Limited, Isah Onobere, said one of the 43 plants installed in the complex was capable of producing 600, 000 tonnes of steel annually. He also said the quantity could cover a 10, 000 kilometres of rail network across the country.

Onobere who stated this at a public hearing organised by the Senate Committee on Privatisation, said the company required N80 billion to put the plant into full capacity use.
According to him, the firm would put together a business proposal to the federal government to accommodate it in the memorandum of understanding recently signed with the Chinese government on the construction of two major rail tracks across the country.

He added that the light mill section of the plant which he said would require N43 billion to become functional, could produce 400, 000 tonnes of steel per annum at full capacity.
He also said that with an investment of the N43 billion, the plant could generate an an average annual income of N80 billion adding that the thermal plant of the firm which has installed capacity of 110 megawatts of electricity, requires N5 billion to become full operational and can generate N18.7 billion annually.

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