• Friday, July 19, 2024
businessday logo

BusinessDay

New BPE helmsman faces 60,000 abandoned projects

New BPE helmsman faces 60,000 abandoned projects

The director-general of the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) will contend with resolving a litany of abandoned projects which are estimated at 60,000.

The BPP was established to, amongst others, harmonise all existing government policies and practices on public procurement and ensure probity, accountability and transparency in the procurement process, while establishing pricing standards and benchmarks. It was also set up to ensure the application of fair, competitive, and transparent standards and practices for the procurement and disposal of public assets.

Read also: Bureaucracy crimps oil sector as 20 federal agencies stifle operators

The House of Representatives puts the number of abandoned projects at 60,000 but the Chartered Institute of Project Managers of Nigeria (CIPMN) estimates them at 56,000.

Adetokunbo Kayode, a former minister who served in several ministries, while speaking with BusinessDay in a recent interview, stated that it has always amounted to waste of time to bring procurement issues before the FEC.

Kayode, who also served as president of the Abuja Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture, stressed the need to have an efficient procurement process under the new leadership.

“Everybody wants an efficient procurement process,” he said.

According to him, “The political will to drive it has not been there and that is why the place has appeared to be a cesspool of corruption.”

He blamed the challenges in the nation’s procurement sector on “inefficiency in the government.”

“You need to strengthen the procurement process by removing procurement issues from items to be discussed at the meeting of the Federal Executive Council FEC. Let FEC concentrate on debating policy matters and their executions. As a matter of fact, contributions to policy debates should form part of the minister’s assessment.”

The former minister stressed the need to ensure that funds for the execution of every project is made available before it is awarded.

The former minister said the new BPE helmsman must remove all bottlenecks in the contract process, adding that “ the 18 conditions lined up for getting a contract are too cumbersome.”

“The BPP needs to concentrate on the procurement process as about 99 percent of those that get the jobs do not have those papers and the paperwork does not make for transparency.

Read also: EFCC calls for review of Public Procurement Act to enhance anti-corruption efforts

“Look at the Abuja -Loyola Road. It has taken several years, yet the project has not been executed. The Galaxy Backbone building took over 14 years to complete. But the six-storeyed building at the Abuja Chamber of Commerce took only two years to complete.

“ So, the best way to tackle the challenges of augmentations, abandoned projects caused by delays is to ensure that the government awards contracts for projects with all the money available and stop the idea of approving variation or augmentations once all the money has been made available,” he added.

Auwal Musa (Rafsanjani), a civil society advocate, called on President Bola Tinubu to immediately inaugurate the National Council on Procurement.

Musa, who is the Director of the Civil Society and Legislative Advocacy Center, said the President should summon the necessary political will to strengthen due process in the public procurement sector.

“Many of the Ministries do not follow the laid-down rules. They bypass the process. So, the BPE must monitor their officers posted to the ministries to ensure that Nigeria is no longer shortchanged

“Previous leaders have used their powers to control awards. So, he can chose to act differently.”