By Adesina Wahab
DESPITE the billions of naira being spent on contracts by the government in Nigeria, the nation is not getting the desired results in return because the procurement of materials for such jobs are not handled by professionals in the procurement field.
This, according to the Registrar of the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply Management of Nigeria, CIPSMN, Alhaji Mohammed Aliyu, also accounts for the large number of abandoned contracts that dot the nation’s landscape and the way completed ones fail within a short period.
Aliyu, who spoke in Lagos,, said going by the World Bank study done in year 2000 called Country Procurement Assessment Report, CPAR 2000, procurement and supply chain activities account for between 70-80 percent of the expenditures of firms and governments worldwide.
‘Unfortinaely, procurement and supply chain has been maligned by those who believe that the function can be performed by just anybody without understanding the art and science involved. Money is managed by accountants, health issues managed by doctors and legal matters managed by lawyers. When non-professionals do procurement, there are no checks and balances. Also, a finance person cannot carry out procurement audit. The government set up the Bureau of Public Procurement and put a non-professional to head it. When a non-professional handles procurement for the government, what margin is he or she given.
“This is the reason why mishandling of contracts and projects have become the banana peel which makes our public office holders to fall from grace. When Chuba Okadigbo was the Senate President, there was the furniture contract trouble. The current leadership of the National Assembly went ahead to procure cars for themselves, are they not repeating old mistakes,” he stated. Aliyu who commended the response of the government and corporate bodies to the COVID-19 pandemic in the country, however, wondered who were in charge of items bought to fight the scourge.
He called for the implementation of the Public Procurement Act 14 of 2007 if corruption would be truly fought and curbed in the country.
“Anti-graft bodies like the EFCC and the ICPC are only after recovering cash from fraudulent people, professionals in the procurement field could help them recover materials such people have sunk stolen funds into. We must also ensure periodic reports of procurement done by government agencies to the public to ensure transparency and accountability,” he added.
He urged the government to accord procurement and supply experts their pride of place in public matters.