Illegal Procurement

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RANDOM THOTS

How would it sound if a citizen learns that all the contracts approved by the Federal Executive Council in all sectors of the economy over the last three administrations (including the current one) have been exercises in illegality? The outrage is better imagined, especially on this present administration which has placed so much emphasis on the war against corruption.

According to the law in the Public Procurement Act passed in 2007, without a functioning Public Procurement Council, all approvals on procurement processes in government circles are illegal. The truth is that such a powerful council is yet to be inaugurated 11 years after the Act came into effect, simply because it takes away the powers of the Executive (including FEC and the President) to approve official contracts.

This was the submission of experts and stakeholders at a high-level workshop to share international anti-corruption best practices to address emerging issues held recently in Abuja, which was organised in Abuja recently by the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) with support from the Ford Foundation and MacArthur Foundation.

At a forum which drew eminent personalities like the Chair Transparency International, Delia Rubio; former Minister of Education, Mrs. Oby Ezekwesili; Auwal Musa Rafsanjani of CISLAC and top officials from the EFCC, ICPC, the Police, BPP, OSIWA, Civil Society groups and the media, participants’ collective reaction to the delayed inauguration of the Procurement Council ranged from shocked surprise to anger.

But the sad reality is that no president, no matter how committed to fighting corruption, is willing to let go of that raw power to approve contracts and dispense favours to cronies and political associates; and therein lies the root of the endemic corruption in the public sector in Nigeria. Until that Council is inaugurated, all attempts to fight corruption will remain just that…vain attempts

– Abimbola Akosile