Acting Secretary of the Government of the Federation, Mrs. Habiba Lawal, has directed on Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to commence procurement in anticipation of the approval of the 2017 budget.
She gave the directive on Monday in Kaduna at the opening of the 1st batch conversion training for procurement cadre officers for federal parastatals and agencies, organised by the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP).
Lawal was represented by Mr. Yinka Aguda, Director, Planning, Research and Statistics.
“It is expected that the 2017 Appropriation Bill would soon be signed to enable the implementation of the budget. I have been briefed that the aim of this training is to strengthen the capacity of participants to implement the budget.
“MDAs are therefore enjoined to commence their procurement processes in anticipation of the passing of the Bill into law.’’
She said that public procurement was globally recognised as a tool for good governance because of its immense benefits and the key role it plays in preventing corruption.
She also commended the BPP for saving the nation N680 billion between 2009 and 2014 through prior review of contracts awarded by MDAs.
Lawal urged contractors interested in doing business with the Federal Government to register on the national database of federal contractors, consultants and service providers maintained by the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP).
She said that the registration was a criterion for eligibility for participating in Federal Government contracts, adding that without submitting to the process, they would not be able to bid for contracts.
She urged the procurement officers to be the arrow heads in the fight against corruption in MDAs.
“Demonstrate a high sense of discipline, professional ethics, transparency and zero tolerance for corruption in line with the change mantra of this administration,’’ she said.
The Director-General, BPP, Mr. Mamman Ahmadu, said the training was designed to bring procurement personnel in the various MDAs to the same level with their counterparts in other parts of the world.
Represented by Mr. Adebowale Adedokun, Director, Research, Training and Strategic Planning, he said that the training would increase their knowledge, competence and skills.
He also said that they would gain fundamental knowledge for conducting excellent procurement and contract/project management.
He said the training was for all officers of different professions that had been co-opted and converted to be procurement officers.
“They are professionals in their various fields but are now intending to practise as procurement officers and one of the criteria is to go through this training. Once you have been converted, there are provisions upon which you must operate or the sanctions will be applied for defaulters’’,
He said it was no longer easy to steal government money through procurement because of the various checks such as the Treasury Single Account (TSA) and the database for contractors which has eliminated awarding contracts based on sentiments.
Ahmadu said that the first batch had 250 participants from across the nation and hopefully there would be a second batch before the end of the year.
Some of the participants told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that they expected the training to help them know their responsibilities as procurement officers.
Mr. Ijabiken Joshua from the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN), expressed optimism that being trained would help to eradicate corruption associated with the procurement process.
“We are expected to be well trained, though we have been doing the work, we need more awareness and I know that if we adhere to what we will be taught here, it will empower us to know the loopholes in procurement and eradicate corruption’’, he said.