The Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) has recorded improvements in the implementation of public procurement and public funds expenditure for procurement officers.
Speaking on Monday at a three-day conversion course for procurement officers in Lagos, BPP director-general, Mamman Ahmadu, said this year’s training programme for officers converting to the procurement cadre in the Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) would institutionalise procurement reform in the Federal Civil Service.
According to Ahmadu, the programme was designed to develop capacity for procurement officers in the MDAs, entrench professionalism and ensure that public procurement decisions by procurement experts were in line with strict provisions of the Public Procurement Act, 2007, (PPA).
This conversion training is one in the series of capacity development and training programmes organised by the BPP on a yearly basis to ensure that the public procurement system fulfils its purpose in a way that the Federal Government ensures the right allocation or use of resources, which is why the BPP is busy strengthening the Public Procurement Reform through continuous training.
Ahmadu, who was represented by director Energy Infrastructure, Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP), Babatunde Kuye, said some of the improvements in the Public Procurement and expenditure of public funds, is that Due Process as listed in the Public Procurement Act, 2007 is now followed in the award of contracts.
“You will recall that the nine essential steps of public procurement start with efficient procurement plan driven by needs assessment. Then, there has to be Adequate Appropriation, followed by Advertisement, and Transparent Pre-qualification. Bid Submission and Bid Opening Process followed by Bid Evaluation process have to take place as well. Afterwards we have Tender Board or Federal Executive Council (FEC) Approval, and then Contract Execution. This is becoming entrenched in the Public Service as good credit for the reform,” he said.
He disclosed that only certified Procurement Officers will be allowed to be posted as Procurement Officers. “The Head of Procurement Department or Unit as you are aware reports directly to the Accounting Officer of their respective MDAs and no one else, but where there are no certified Procurement Officers as yet, the schedule officer in charge will have to take responsibility in the meantime and should report to the Accounting Officer as appropriate. We need to begin to get things right as it can no longer be business as usual,” he disclosed.
Ahmadu said that transparency, competition, quality and the attainment of value-for-money are central to the Procurement Process. “The Public Service is the engine room for change, and it is our collective responsibility to ensure that all sections of the law governing Public Procurement are fully put into practice. I must say that we are not unaware that some people are itching to be Procurement Officers because they think it is a route to sudden wealth through the award of contracts. This wrong notion is rather unfortunate; I, therefore, urge you to lay emphasis on continuous professional development so as to engender good service delivery in order to enhance performance in the Cadre,” he added.
The director-general disclosed that the Federal Government and BPP were working with some agencies of government to address specific structural and capacity challenges in their procurement processes. “In the same vein, as part of the procurement reform, FG with support from the World Bank has approved six centres of excellence across the six geo-political zones to train and have graduates at the Master, Post Graduate Diploma and advanced certificates in procurement, environmental and social safety for both the public and private sectors.
“This is also to support the present efforts of the Bureau of Public Procurement. However, BPP would work with the Office of the Secretary to Government of the Federation to enforce and apply appropriate sanctions on Agencies using uncertified Procurement Officers as against the circular,” he said.
He said that the National Capacity Building Strategy is being developed taking into consideration latest needs, current trends and vision of government with regards to the procurement reform.
“In line with this mind-set of government is the reason the BPP is working very closely with ABU, FUTO and UNILAG to ensure standardisation of courses and researches directly impacting the economy, environmental and the social needs of the country. Nevertheless, aside the conversion training programmes, the induction training programme will effectively take off this year – 2020. Agencies will collaborate with the BPP to ensure the right kinds of people are employed and thereafter undergo induction training,” he said.