As Nigerians worry over the spate of abandoned projects in the country, the Federal Government has said it remains committed to various procurement reforms in the country.
This was even as the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) maintained that public procurement officers have a crucial role to play in national infrastructure development in terms of skills and competencies that are critical to delivering a transparent public procurement system, which will guarantee good value for money.
Speaking during the 2018 Procurement Officers’ Conversion Training in Lagos, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, said the government is aware of the calls for the procurement system to hasten the process of delivering critical services and infrastructure to the citizenry, adding that its office has confidence in the BPP to coordinate implementation of the Public Procurement Reform (PPR).
Mustapha who was represented by the Director, Audit, Office to the SGF, Mbaeri Nnamdi, further said the government’s position is to ensure that procurement processes are perfected in such a way that corruption antics will be reduced drastically.
“We understand that the government spends so much on projects, contracts and in doing that, it requires a strategy to position the regulatory agency in a manner whereby corruption tendencies are minimised and project abandonment is reduced because if BPP is not well positioned, then the agency will not be in a position to tackle some of the challenges that people see from time to time in procurement processes,” he explained.
Also speaking, Director General, BPP, Mamman Ahmadu, who was represented by Director, Energy Infrastructure, BPP, Babatunde Kuye, explained that in view of the government’s commitments, training of the officers in the cadre remains a continuous and sustained exercise at the bureau.
“By the time we finish the conversion training including the subsequent editions, all officers in the Procurement Department of all agencies of the Federal Government would be professional procurement officers.
This is because we want to stop situations where unprofessional officers handle procurement responsibilities. So that is the target; it is to ensure that all officers who conduct public procurement processes are professional procurement officers,” he said.
According to him, there is need for the bureau to take the lead in the reform process while developing the kind of capacity muscles needed for the success of the reform through regular trainings, which is germane.
Kuye further warned officers not to fall short of the law in any respect as errant officers will not escape all applicable sanctions entrenched in the PPA 2007, ranging from imprisonment to the tune of five years and more.