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Our procurement legal, institutional frameworks far from global best practices—Ezeh

Immediate past Director-General of Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) and the former President, Nigeria Society of Engineers (NSE), Emeka Moumah Ezeh, has decried that the Nigerian procurement process as it is runs afoul of global best practices.

Speaking in Lagos at a recent procurement summit organized by the Nigeria Institution of Procurement Engineers (NIProcE), Lagos chapter, he averred that “For Nigeria’s procurement system to be effective, the legal and institutional frameworks must be examined to see how it complies with global best practices.”

According to him, “Nigeria’s law is yet to be upgraded or amended. Three attempts made to amend the law nearly led to the scraping of the law, as many obnoxious provisions were introduced. In spite of this, Nigeria law still remains one of the best laws in public procurement”. He noted, that that the law should quickly be amended and bring in the president as the chairman of the National Council on Public Procurement so that the bureau can have the necessary protection it needs to be more effective

He argued that in order to tame bureaucratic delays and corruption inherent in the process both at state and federal levels, there is need to critically look into the laws guiding the procedures of public procurement and makes it to comply with the principles of transparency, accountability and integrity.

Ezeh stressed that “From experience, inaugurating the council as it is presently constituted to me is like calling for the scraping of the bureau. In any case it is even in conflict with section five of the Nigeria constitution that vests all executive powers on the President,” He added that the number one challenge facing the effective implementation of procurement in Nigeria is the composition of the National Council on Public Procurement.

“Besides the council, other issues bother on institutional and human capacity to implement the law”. He mentioned that the basic principles needed to make the procurement effective are transparency, integrity, economy, openness, fairness, competition and accountability.

While complaining on issues of transparency in Public Procurement, he noted that “Strategic information relating to what needs to be procured, conditions to be met by bidders, criteria to be use in assessing bids must be made available to all stakeholders-contractors, suppliers, service providers and general public unless there are valid and legal reasons for not revealing certain information as in case of security procurement”.

“To raise integrity and tame temptations, the remuneration of procurement officers especially that of Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) needs to be brought at par with similar agencies like CBN, NDIC, PTAD, NNPC among others”