Contract review: BPP saves N58bn

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Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) on Friday disclosed that out of 308 projects for which requests were made in the total sum of N1.7 trillion, it considered and approved 184 requests valued at N1.2 trillion in 2013.
Director-General of the bureau, Mr. Emeka Muoma Ezeh, who revealed this at the 2014 Retreat for Federal Permanent Secretaries organised by the office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation in collaboration with BPP at Lagos stated that the BPP saved the Federal Government over N58 billion as a result of the prior review interventions of 184 requests approved, while it granted Certificates of No Objection valued at N1.12 trillion that would have been spent on unapproved projects.
The DG, who accused public servants as being impediments to the implementation of government policies, said this led to delay in processing to Federal Executive Council (FEC) for consideration, for projects, which BPP has already issued certificates of “No Objection” but were left unpaid even when funds are available.
The BPP boss also said that during the year under review there were frequent use of selective tendering in preference to other procurement methods, even as he urged the Permanent Secretaries to do more to ensure the use of competitive tendering as the norm for all procurement proceedings.
He stated that the 2013 round of procurement audits revealed some cases of non-compliance with the Public Procurement Act 2007, which was being referred to EFCC and ICPC for further investigation and possible prosecution.
Ezeh also admitted that there were lapses in the 2013 budget, stressing the need for the Permanent Secretaries to brace up for the challenges ahead in implementing the 2014 budget in line with the provisions of the Public Procurement Act.
He revealed that the bureau’s 2013 field monitoring and inspection of projects recommended two critical steps and actions namely: “(1) to shift projects recommended from micro management of inputs to using the capital budget to pay for results. (2) to re-align the project framework to focus on the big picture of the intended results.”
According to Eze, for the country to reap the full benefits of the ongoing procurement reforms, there is also need to deepen and strengthen the newly established procurement cadre in the civil service; organise capacity building, training and professional certification of procurement officers; create procurement units where they do not exist to ensure uniform implementation of the PP Act and easy monitoring of compliance, use of approved standard bidding documents, improve accountability, integrity and transparency of the process and reduce the scope for corruption and aim to be consistent with internationally accepted principles and practices.
In his opening remarks, Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Alhaji Bukar Aji, restated the need to provide new and serving Permanent Secretaries with robust information that would improve their understanding of the 2007 Public Procurement Act to enhance performance in implementation of federal budget and programmes.
He noted that the initiatives in service delivery would depend on the ability of Permanent Secretary to interpret government policies that would transform into programmes and projects, which will ultimately improve the lives of the citizens.

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