By BARTHOLOMEW MADUKWE
LAGOS—Executive Director, Media Rights Agenda, MRA, Mr. Edetaen Ojo, Friday, charged the media to monitor implementation of the Public Procurement Act, PPA.
According to him, there must be compliance by relevant bodies, agencies and institutions in ensuring transparency in the provisions of the Act.
Speaking during a validation workshop on “Public Procurement: A Reporting Guide for Journalists”, Lagos, Ojo pointed out that the achievement of the objective of the PP Act will depend on its effective implementation, saying ”therefore it is critical that the media and other stakeholders ensure its effective implementation through public enlightenment and monitoring activities of government officials.
He said media practitioners covering public procurement must be familiar with all the relevant issues, while getting acquinted with reports touching on public procurement, adding “the media should constantly focus their searchlight on the system to ensure that the objectives of the new public procurement regime are realised.
“Transparency in PPA can be attained when the requirement for proactive realease of certain types of information, including through advertising and the use of websites. Transparency is the bedrock of the public procurement system.”
Ojo averred, adding that bidding for contracts should be open and its details published in the procurement journal.
Also speaking, Director of International Press Centre (IPC), Mr. Lanre Arogundade, expressed that the media need to focus more on anti-corruption issues particularly as emanating from bodies like the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the Independent Corrupt Practices and Related Offences Commission (ICPC) and sometimes the Police, saying “but even within this confine, media reports are preponderantly about arrests and prosecution following the commission of acts of corruption.
Arogundade in a speech entitled: “Public Procurement: A Reporting Guide for Journalist”, said ‘’a good number of procurement officers of MDAs are daily scuttling the efforts of the Bureau through collusion with contractors, tampering with bids to favour contractors as well as causing undue delay in the procurement processess when they notice that their prefered bidders are not favoured.’’ Citing Engr Emeka Eze, Director General Bureau for Public Procurement.
Cordinator National Procurement Watch Platform Ms Uche Hilary-Ogboona said ‘’ We intend to make journalist understnad the whole procurement Act and reporting in Nigeria, the Act will help journalist also, in investigative journalism. When journalists are able to transcend ‘they said..they said’ and dig into more facts.’
Delivering a welcome address, Executive Direcor, Civil Society Legislative Advocay Centre (CISLAC) and Head of the National Procurement Watch Platform Secretariat said: ‘’we want to see that journalist help in ensuring that people do not hide issues borthering on pubblic procurement outside the law. We are planning to equip jounalist to handle matters of contract in Nigeria’’ adding that the press needs to join hands with civil soceity to fight against corruption and illegal contract businees in Nigeria.