Stakeholders in the Community of Practice on Public Procurement converged on Abuja ,the nation’s Federal Capital Territory (FCT) to fashion out new models of promoting Open Contracting.
The two- day Anti-Corruption Innovation Project Community of Practice engagement, organized by UNDP, Accountability Lab -Nigeria and Open Contracting Partnership held at Corinthians Villa Hotel, Abuja.
Representatives of the Federal and sub national governments as well as the Media and Civil Society Organisations were in attendance. Also in attendance were participants from Ekiti ,Edo and Plateau including Directors of BPP in the states mentioned .
The stakeholders identified robust synergy and adherence to corporate ethics in the private sectors as key to promoting open governance and accountability.
It was revealed that as much as trillion dollars were being spent worldwide on issues relating to Public Procurement .
Part of the recommendations was call for the establishment of a Central Portal on procurement in each state where information relating to open Contracting could be easily accessed
Also capacity building, institutionalization of procurement cadre and good reward system for the staffers were other recommendations. They also recommended proper upscaling of procurement
Earlier in his remarks, Adewole Oke, Social Innovator SDG-16, Governance, Peace & Security (GPS) who represented the UNDP hinted that the Community of Practice aimed to strengthen the existing progress of the Nigeria Anti-Corruption Innovation Project.
The UNDP representative said the Community of Practice would also help to identify key achievements, obstacles, and forge a common front .and fir other to embrace the accomplishments in the pilot locations.
He explained that the platform was to ensure efficient planning and strengthen the ecosystem, working to advance open contracting in Nigeria by deploying tech-based open contracting and monitoring dashboards
“In addition, Accountability and Transparency is a foundation to achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 16 which seeks to promote peaceful and inclusive societies for Sustainable Development, provides access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels. UNDP will continue to support the Anti-Corruption Project to achieve its goals, as well as accomplish and sustain inclusive, transparent and credible civic engagement around enhanced service delivery for a peaceful and cohesive society.
” UNDP is optimistic that this engagement will promote prolific interactions among the participants for an enhanced and credible outcome. We equally hope that the knowledge gained in this session will contribute to increased efficiency in the organization and conduct of the procurement agency in ways that key stakeholders, CSO’s, Innovation Hubs, Start-ups and the general population will have full confidence in the state governments procurement agencies.” Oke said
No fewer than five technical consultants who conducted researches on issues around Public Procurement I’m done states also availed stakeholders their findings and gave recommendations. Amongst them Omomofe Akimtunde, Engineer Akintade Akintoye and Lola Adekanye .
The Business Integrity and Ethics 1st Lead at CIPE, Lola Adekanye, explained that while there are those businesses that would always be inclined to operate with integrity, the majority of businesses will need some inducement . T
She argued that the only little tweak that would trigger multiplier effect is for for the private sector to self-regulate. This include digging corporate integrity pledge, demonstrate improved corporate compliance measures and completing an independent compliance verification.
Adekanye posited that any company that satisfied the aforementioned conditions was,likely to deliver quality job .
In his presentation, a consultant and lead Transparency and Accountability in Totality- Follow Taxes ,Dr Saied Tafida Sulaiman said research has revealed thst the existing public procurement laws and established frameworks and guidelines in Plateaus state include the Procurement Procedures Manual 2017, Procurement Regulations, 2017,
Others were Code of Conduct for Public Procurement Staff, Guidelines on Covid-19 and Other Emergency Procurements, Guideline to Increase Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) Participation in Public Procurement and the Procurement Approval Threshold. There is a good level of compliance of the procurement system with the law. This is further summarized according to the stages of procurement
He said ” the existing laws, frameworks and practices stipulate a good procurement system, especially its ability to deliver effective services and encourage affirmative. However, an evident lack of affirmative action for women, PWDs and other disadvantaged groups in the Plateau state procurement process exists as none of the procurement documents or practice gave way for that.
Abubakar Salisu from Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC ) in his presentation on Beneficial Ownership and Public Procurenent advocated enactment of Law by the National Assembly on continuity of projects.
According to him,this would curb the menace of abandoned projects across the states.
He also explained that Section 119 of the Company and Allied Matters (CAMA) stipulates that person who has a significant control ,holding atheist 5percent interest or percent of approving or removing power could be regarded as a Beneficial Owner .