FG Mulls Amendment of Procurement Act to Support Businesses

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Obinna Chima

The federal government yesterday disclosed plan to amend some section of the Procurement Act in order to support operators of small businesses in the country.

The Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo revealed this in a keynote address at a Policy Dialogue titled: “Tackling the Poor Maintenance Culture in Nigeria,” that took place in Lagos yesterday.

The event was organised by Klinserve Solutions Limited.

The Vice President, who was represented by the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, pointed out that presently the requirements are too much for operators of small businesses to comply with.

He said: “What we are trying to do to open up opportunities for small businesses is to amend the procurement law. Currently, the conditions are too cumbersome for small businesses.

“So, my advice is that if you are campaigning for any legislature, one of the things you should be asking them to do for you is to amend that law, not to waive the conditions, but to make it easy for small business to be able to meet some of those condition,” he said.

Fashola, who was also invited as a special guest of honour at the event, stressed the need to build what he termed a maintenance economy.

According to the minister, maintenance is a very lucrative business in countries across the world.

He noted that the development of skills acquisition centres by successive governments in past 20 years was to develop manpower to handle the maintenance of critical infrastructure in the country.

Fashola urged governments at all levels to always ensure that public utilities and institution are always maintained.

“My argument simply is that the problem is not the absence of a maintenance culture, but the absence of a maintenance economy and we need to start doing something about that now.

“Until we create a maintenance economy, it would be difficult for a lot of the unemployed graduates to be able to find a job. There is need to encourage skills acquisition,” he added.

Fashola said his ministries was planning to build Independent Power Plants in federal universities across the country as well as repair roads within the tertiary institutions.

“Also, we found out that bridges across the country lacked maintenance over the years. We have done assessment of all the bridges in Nigeria and we have developed a three-year plan for that intervention and it will cost us N277 billion to do that,” he added.

Earlier, the Chairman, Klinserv Solution, Dr. Tunde Ayeye, suggested the need to create an incentive or a legal framework around budgeting for maintenance in the country.