President of the Senate, Dr. Ahmed Lawan, yesterday decried the loopholes inherent in the 2007 Public Procurement Act.
The provisions of the Act, he argued, actually breeds corruption in the system and frustrating project implementation in the last 12 years.
Lawan, who spoke while receiving in audience the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, however, promised that the Senate will carry out holistic review of the Act as a way of sanitising the entire process of contracts awards and executions. He emphasised that the Act as it is presently is frustrating as far as contracts awards and execution are concerned.
Holistic review and amendments, according to him, are urgently needed, which will surely be kick-started from the Senate very soon.
“Public Procurement in Nigeria as far as I can see is not the best in the world. The Public Procurement Act must be reviewed and amended; we must see how we can make it more practical and holistic within the shortest possible time.
“From the stage of bidding to mobilisation, the costing of any government contracts must be uniform in order to avoid imbalances and embarrassment in the processes. A situation where about 20 agencies of government buy the same brand of vehicles at grossly different prices is not good.
“Market prices must be determined and adhered strictly to, in ensuring that Nigerians are not shortchanged through abuse of processes or over-invoicing. Even the 15 percent mobilisation fee is specified in the Act but realities on ground is more of demobilising contractors than mobilising them with attendant loopholes for fraudulent practices”.
He added that pending the planned review, the Senate would ensure that its standing committee on Public Procurement, will be made up of members who have the required knowledge and experience of the entire process.
“Our Public Procurement committee will be a very strong committee this time around. The cost of projects in Nigeria is mostly the highest in the world. We cannot continue like this – not in the face of very scarce resources. So, we are going to insist that public procurement particularly is considered better than before. If there is should be a purchase of buses by ten or 20 ministries; the cost must be uniform so that we don’t drag into crisis on what we buy.
The Procurement Committee when in place, will make sure we work towards achieving this set agenda in order to avoid putting the public at disadvantaged position”, Lawan further said.
President of the Senate also commended the SGF Mustapha, for the existing cordiality between the executive and legislature, adding that the pathways of understanding among the tiers of government will ease developmental stride of the present administration.
Speaking earlier, the SGF stated that the Nigerian project is of great importance to the present administration, urging members of the parliament to continue to strengthen the ties with other arms of government in order to achieve the set agenda of the Buhari’s administration in good time.