The Human and Environmental Development Agenda (HEDA Resource Centre), a leading Anti-Corruption Organization has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately constitutes the National Council on Public Procurement in compliance with the Public Procurement Act as measures to stop the illegal interference of the Federal Executive Council in public procurement and contract approval.
In a two-page letter written to President Muhammadu Buhari and signed by its Chairman, Olanrewaju Suraju, the Anti-Corruption Organization maintained that due to the non-constitution of the Council, the Federal Executive Council headed by the President has unconstitutionally usurped the duties and responsibility of the Council.
The Public Procurement Act 2007 was enacted to primarily curb procurement frauds in government, reduce to the barest minimum, politicians’ involvements in contracts award and procurement, and to ensure accountability in the procurement process.
HEDA further explained that it is important to strictly adhere to the provisions of the act, noting that the importance of the constitution of the National Council on Public Procurement cannot be relegated as amongst the function of the Council is to recommend Director-General of the Bureau to President Muhammadu for appointment.
Part of the letter reads, “Your Excellency, Section 1 of the Act establishes the National Council on Public Procurement and Section 1(4) gives you the power to appoint the Chairman and members of the Council.
“It is our firm believe that your Excellency can correct the anomaly and give life not to only to the Public Procurement Act but also ensure politicians are not involved in the procurement processes which was one of the major concerns of World Bank in its Country Procurement Assessment Report (CPAR), leading to the passage of PPA.
The organization therefore urged the President to act fast in constituting the National Council on Public Procurement in compliance with PPA and failure to see a total compliance or indication of same with their demands within 14 days, they will be force to approach the Court to mandate compliance.
Similarly, HEDA in a separate letter also called on the Chairman, Senate Committee on Public Procurement, Senator Isa Shuaibu Lau, to use his good office and ensure full compliance with Section 17 of the PPA which provides for approving authorities for contracts award and also the Parastatals Tenders Board (PTB) and Ministerial Tenders Board (MTB).
“We therefore call on Mr. Chairman to advocate and ensure full compliance with the PPA. It is noteworthy that pushing this compliance at this time of our democracy, will aid in restoring the peoples’ trust in public service and public procurement.”