The Senate yesterday, amended the Public Procurement Act, 2007 and jerked up mobilisation of local contractors from 15 to 30 per cent.
The Red Chamber also reduced the timeframe within which contracts will be awarded to two weeks. The same now applies for processing and four days to issue certificates to qualified contractors. During the consideration of the report, senators said the current mobilisation fee for local contractors was inadequate and further argued that it usually leads to contracts abandonment. Senators who spoke were divided over whether the certificate should be issued by heads of the Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) or a special committee in the Bureau of Public Procurement.
President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, noted that the parliament should ensure that there was no delay in contract processing and award by giving a timeframe for the necessary document to issued. He said doing so was also a better way to avoid corruption.
Senators suggested having a representative of the Bureau of Public Procurement to be posted into the MDAs for the purpose of issuing certificates based on their various threshold.
Members after debate, however, agreed to use the issue of timeframe as a means of saving time and stopping corruption in contracts award. They agreed that contracts should be processed within two weeks while the certificate be issued within four days. On the issue on mobilisation for local contractors, the committee recommended not more than 20 per cent but the Senate approved 30 per cent after much debate on the issue.
The Senate did not fix any percentage as mobilisation fee for foreign contractors because some senators argued that they should be ready to use their money for projects and get paid afterwards.
Lawan noted that there should be a deliberate plan of the government to encourage local contractors through policies and legislation. He noted that the BPP has been problematic over the years.