Dr Hamid Bobboyi, Executive Secretary, Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC), has said that the commission would adopt the Open Contract Data Standards (OCDS) to eradicate corruption in its contract system.
Bobboyi made the remarks in Kaduna on Monday at the opening of a two-day national dialogue on OCDS, organised in collaboration with MacArthur Foundation.
Represented by Mr Olumayowa Aleshi, UBEC’s Deputy Director, Partnership and Teacher Professional Development, Bobboyi said the dialogue was part of measures to ensure accountability and eradicate corruption in contract processing.
He said that the collaboration with MacArthur Foundation tagged `On the Nigeria project’ was in actualisation of UBEC’s policy of frugality and probity.
“The Project seeks to support all efforts to promote accountability, transparency and corruption reduction to improve service delivery
“We cannot fully implement the partnership and achieve the project’s set goals without involving the foot soldiers who implement UBEC programmes,” he said.
The executive secretary said the commission involved UBEC’s heads of procurement, fiscal planning and finance units in the dialogue as a way of showing its importance.
He described the OCDS as an internationally recognised system that could improve service delivery, reduce wastage and tackle corruption.
“It is our belief that the citizenry needs to be aware of government’s investment in education and its effort at improving service delivery.
“We believe that proper monitoring and sensitisation of project implementation and procurement processes by stakeholders will enhance the achievement of set objectives,” he said.
Mr Emeka Ihenwokeneme, UBEC-MacArthur Desk Officer, said the foundation initiated the
“On the Nigerian Project” to reduce corrupt practices in the basic education sector.
“Our hope is that this will be achieved through accountability and transparency by scaling up OCDS and project monitoring.
“MacArthur Foundation is an international group that supports creative people, effective institution and influential network by building a more just, verdant and peaceful world,” he said.
He said the foundation was supporting UBEC to develop programme management systems for the scaling up of OCDS and strengthening of UBEC`s management programme systems.
“These are expected to improve transparency in the educational sector and improve opportunities to promote accountability which will over time reduce corruption,” he said.
Mr Ajibola Amzat, a participant and editor with the International Centre for Investigation Reporting, commended UBEC and MacArthur Foundation for the efforts to stem corruption in the basic education sector.
Amzat said that the dialogue on OCDS would create the needed partnership among stakeholders and ensure transparency in contracts awards processes.