Mr Mamman Ahmadu, the Director-General, Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP), says the agency recently deployed an upgraded version of the National Database for Contractors to ensure effective and sustainable operations.
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He said this on Tuesday in Abuja, while declaring open a six-day sectoral capacity building workshop on the public procurement process.
The workshop was designed for designated officers in the directorate cadre and heads of procurement units in Federal Government agencies, parastatals and commissions on the implementation of the 2018 budget.
Ahmadu said that the database was integrated with other sister government agencies such as the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), and the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) for real-time data exchange.
He listed other agencies to include the Industrial Training Fund (ITF), Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF), and the National Pension Commission (PenCom).
“This data exchange is aimed at fighting corruption by eliminating the use of falsified documents in the bidding process.
“The exchange of data also aims to eradicate the patronage of portfolio companies, prevent companies from providing false claims in their submissions to gain an undue competitive advantage.
“For instance, the number of personnel a company claims to employ in a bid to secure a contract should match the number making contributions in pensions, ITF and employee compensation scheme.’’
He also said that the agency had deployed a National Open Contracting Portal (NOCOPO) to ensure that public procurement information was publicly available so all stakeholders could engage with the entire procurement cycle.
This, he said would enable interested parties such as Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and the private sector to monitor every contract awarded by the Federal Government to ensure that they were delivered as expected.
“When things are hidden, it is very easy to do sharp practices, thinking that nobody would detect what you are doing.
“However, when they are open, you have no place to hide and if you are doing something untoward, it will easily be noticed by others and be brought to public notice and that is the reason we want to be open in the procurement process.
“This will also be an avenue to curb instances of project abandonment, as contractors that are bad performers will be easily detected through the portal,’’ Ahmadu said.
Ahmadu said that the workshop was aimed at deepening participants’ knowledge and understanding of the public procurement process.
“The participants who are representatives of BPP in various Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), and in various locations take decisions on behalf of the bureau and we want these decisions taken in a very well coordinated manner.
“We do not want a situation where they are all working on different agendas, we want them to be focused and united to deal with all the challenges facing the bureau.’’
The BPP was established by the Public Procurement Act, 2007 as the regulatory authority responsible for the monitoring and oversight of public procurement.
It also harmonises existing government policies and practices by regulating, setting standards and developing the legal framework and professional capacity for public procurement in Nigeria.
This is with the aim of building and sustaining an efficient country procurement system that meets international best practices.