By Favour Nnabugwu
The Federal Government says it loses $10billion (N1.7trillion) annually to fraudulent practices in the award of contracts and project reviews. The Director-General Bureau of Public Procurement, BPP, Mr. Emeka Muoma Ezeh, made the disclosure during the opening ceremony of the First National Conference on Public Procurement in Abuja .
Ezeh said the Country Procurement Assessment Report, CPAR observed that procurements were being carried out to staff that had little or no training at all and for that, every N1.00 spent, N60kobo was lost to sharp practices by corrupt officials of government.
He said “A whopping $10billion was being lost yearly by the Federation to fraudulent practices in the award and execution of public contracts through inflation of contract, cost of procurement plans, poor project prioritisation, poor budgeting processes, lack of competition and value for money and other kinds of manipulation of the procurement and contract award processes”.
This is why the BPP boss said the federal government is encouraging states that are yet to adopt the public procurement act to do so while those that have enacted the act should start implementing it in order to save the States and the Federation from corrupt practices in the awards of contracts.
He said the federal Government has saved a whopping sum of N528billion from the review of various projects in the country in the last five years.
He said “From 2009 to date, the Bureau has saved over N528billion in project reviews. The States have been denied these benefits because they have no law on procurements. In most cases where EFCC has investigated corruption involving contract award, at the last point, they will realise that the federal law as it is today, does not apply to the States or Local Government”
“There is no legal framework to prosecute violators of procurement procedures; bidders are not provided level playing ground; criteria on which decisions are to be based are not known; business opportunities are only known to those close to officials in charge and of course, absence of an oversight body encourages confusion. At the end, value for money is sacrificed and confidence in government is eroded”.
The clear objective of public procurement, the BPP boss stated, is to reduce the scope of corruption and improve the efficiency in the management of Nigeria’s public