By Ndubuisi Francis in Abuja
The federal government has directedÂ the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) to investigateÂ infractions against the Public Procurement Act (PPA), 2007.
The government said such step had become necessary in order to bring to bookÂ any civil servant foundÂ colluding with contractors to subvert the provisions of the law.Â
The Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, who hinted about governmentâ€™s directive at the 2018 Procurement Retreat for Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) of federal government agencies and parastatals in Abuja, said any chief executive found to have conspired with contractors to sideline the procurement process and procedures contrary to the Act would be dealt with.
The retreat entitled: â€˜Public Procurement for Sustainable National Developmentâ€™, was organised by the Bureaus of Public Procurement (BPP) in conjunction with the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation.
The SGF said: â€˜â€˜The ICPC and the EFCC are currently investigating cases of infractions which is against the PPA 2007, with the hope of punishing any civil servant found to have colluded with contractors to subvert the rules of the Act.Â Â
â€˜â€˜Any CEO who defaults or collude with contractors or found to sideline the procurement process and procedure, there acting contrary to the provisions of the PPA, 2007 would be sanction,â€™â€™ he said.
The SGF, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, General Services in the Office of the SGF Olusegun Adekunle, also stated that the federal government had ordered all its ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) to adhere strictly to the PPA Act 2007 in contracting out projects.
Mustapha noted that the CEOs of the parastatals being the accounting officers of implementing agencies have crucial role to play in national infrastructure development, building skills and competencies that are critical for the execution of transparent and efficient public procurement that guarantees good value for money.
He warned CEOs not to do business with any government contractor without proper registration on the national database hosted by the BPP, adding that every government agency must henceforth has a full-fledged procurement department manned by BPP trained and certified officers.
He also urged them to liaise with their supervisory ministers to ensure that compliance with the provisions of the public procurement Act 2007.
â€˜â€˜Every government agency must avail itself with the BPP training programmes both at the BPP Training Centre in Abuja and other Public Procurement Research Centres in the Universities by the Bureau. The MDAs are directed to patronise only BPP accredited firms.
â€˜â€˜Every government agency must comply with SGF Circular on procurement plans and procurement records. Government will not hesitate to deal with any erring agencies that are yet to submit their procurement plans and procurement records of the previous year and the current year (2017-2018) respectively,
â€˜â€˜It is mandatary for every government to use the public procurement documents as authorizedÂ Â by the BPP,Â Â such asÂ Â the Standard Bidding Documents (SBDs) and other BPP documents.
â€œAll agencies must de-emphasis the use of selective tendering methods as the norm rather than the Open Competitive methods as prescribed by the PPA 2007.
â€˜â€˜Agencies must ensure that they have the final engineering design for any project to reduce the high rate of fluctuations and variations.
â€˜â€˜Government is in the process of implementing e-government process that will help to prevent corruption,â€ he said.
In her goodwill message, the Head of Service of the Federation, Mrs. Winifred Oyo-Ita said a good procurement process is critical to transparent and good procurement processes.
She said officers must stand firm and commit to play by the rules for a more efficient, transparent and cost effective contracting and execution of projects, urging them to be very thorough in applying the rules with high sense of responsibility.
Oyo-Ita, who was representedÂ by the Permanent Secretary in the Office of the Head of Service, Mr. Ndubuisi Osuji, said the retreat would serve as a launch pad for budget implementation and growth process, adding that it would rekindle the public confidence in the BPP.