By Emmanuel Obisue
Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Dr. Folashade Yemi- Esan has called for increased professionalism and compliance with best practices and the provisions of the Public Procurement Act (PPA), 2007.
A statement made available by Mohammed Ahmed, Deputy Director, Communications in the Office of the Head of Service, informed that the HoS made the call at the Opening Ceremony of a two-day Procurement Retreat for Federal Permanent Secretaries, Accountant Generals and Auditor Generals of the Federation, with the theme “Strengthening Public Procurement for Optimal Effectiveness” in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State.
Speaking at the retreat over the weekend which was organized by the Bureau of Public Procurement, BPP in collaboration with her office, Dr. Yemi- Esan reminded the participants that “Public Procurement is a major function of Government and that the law regulating it, in Nigeria, exists to ensure that public funds and resources are responsibly utilised with the objective of obtaining value for money being spent”.
She harped on the dire need for discouraging touting and encouraging Small and Medium Scale Enterprises, SMEs to promote local content, curb capital flight and grow the economy, citing Executive Order 11(E. O. 11), Maintenance of National Public Buildings, which directly tied maintenance with our economy.
The HoS stressed that demonstrable commitment in addressing capacity gaps of all officers involved in the procurement cycle, must be shown through frequent and adequate training, retraining, tooling and retooling and performance assessment.
Dr. Yemi – Esan further advised Chief Accounting Officers to exercise greater scrutiny and discretion prior to granting approvals for the award of contracts, which must be within the approved thresholds and in total conformity with other extant financial instruments.
Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Udom Emmanuel, who was represented at the event by his Deputy, Moses Ekpo, viewed Public Procurement as an indispensable and sensitive tool that must be properly deployed for the betterment of any economy, adding that it must reflect public concerns, efficiency, transparency, cost effectiveness and above all, give value for money expended.
He added that prior to the signing of the Public Procurement Act in 2007, corruption in public procurement, according to reports, accounted for sizeable fractions of government’s total spendings. This, he said, was perpetuated by some “self-centered Public Officers” who exploited the absence of a functional legislation and enforcement structure to orchestrate it.