Public Procurement Act encouraging corruption — Ahmad Lawan

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The Senate on Monday said there were loopholes in the 2007 Public Procurement Act which were not only encouraging corruption but frustrating projects’ implementation.

The red chamber, therefore, pledged to carry out an holistic review of the Act as a way of sanitising the entire process in terms of contracts awards and execution.

The President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, stated this when he played host to the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr Boss Mustapha, who paid him a courtesy visit.

Lawan said the Act was frustrating due diligence in contracts’ awards and execution.

He insisted that the holistic review and amendments to the Act,were urgently necessary and would start in the Senate soon.

He said, “The Public Procurement Act in Nigeria as far as I can see it 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.

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“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 enough.

“Market prices must be determined and adhere strictly to. This would ensure that Nigerians are not short-changed through abuse of processes or over invoicing.

“Even the 15 per cent mobilisation fee specified in the Act by the realities on the ground is more of demobilising contractors than mobilising them with attendant loopholes for fraudulent practices.”

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He said the 9th Senate would ensure that its Standing Committee on Public Procurement would be composed of members who have the required knowledge and experience of the entire process.

Lawan said, “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 the public procurement particularly is considered better than before.

“If there should be a purchase of buses by 10 or 20 ministries, the cost must be uniform so that we don’t drag ourselves into crisis on what we buy.”

He said the procurement committee when constituted, will work towards achieving this set agenda in order to avoid putting the public at a disadvantaged position.

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The President of the Senate commended the SGF for bringing cordial relationship into both the executive and legislature.

He added that the pathways of understanding among the tiers of government would ease developmental stride of the present administration.

Mustapha said the Nigerian project was of great importance to the present administration.

He urged 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.

He said the executive arm was determined to ensure a successful tenure of office for the leadership of the National Assembly and its members.

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