Contracts Sleaze: Reps declare BPP illegal, urge Buhari to set up procurement council

By Tordue Salem – Abuja

The House of Representatives has described as Illegal the constitution of Bureau of Public Procurement, BPP, calling on the president to validate the agency by setting up a National Procurement Council, in line with the law.

The BPP Act, 2007 compels the president to set up a Procurement Council, along with the Bureaucracy.

A motion urging the President to constitute a Procurement Council, is sponsored by Unyime Idem(PDP-Akwa-Ibom).

Recall that the National Assembly passed into law Public Procurement Act 2004 CAP P44 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria with commencement in 2007 and several amendments thereafter, and the latest amendment being promulgated by the Nigeria President on May 22, 2019 to take effect on May 24, 2019 with accompanying amendments.

The sponsor of the Motion, told the House that “Section 1 of the Public Procurement Act, 2007, provided for the establishment of the National Council on Public Procurement to supervise the activities of the Bureau of Public Procurement and carry out other functions such as to consider, approve and amend the monetary and prior review thresholds for the application of the provisions of this Act by procuring entities, consider and approve policies on public procurement, approve the appointment of the Directors of the Bureau, receive and consider, for approval, the audited accounts of the Bureau of Public Procurement, approve changes in the procurement process to adapt to improvements in modern technology and give such other directives and perform such other functions as may be necessary to achieve the objectives of this Act”.

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He said “Section 1 (2) provides for the constitution of the National Council on Public Procurement which shall consist of the Minister of Finance as Chairman, the Attorncy-General and Minister of Justice of the Federation, the Secretary the Government of the Federation, the Head of Service of the Federation, the Economic Adviser to the President. The Council was also to consist of six part-time members to represent: Nigeria Institute of Purchasing and Supply Management, Nigeria Bar Association, Nigeria Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agn’eulture, Nigeria Society of Engineers, Civil Society, the Media and the Director-General of the Bureau who shall be the Secretary of the Council.

“The essence of the National Council on Public Procurement is to ensure that the Bureau of Public Procurement carries out its functions based on transparency, competition, integrity, and ensuring bets value for money. Other essence of the National Council on Public Procurement was to help check fraudulent practices in the award of public contracts through inflation of contract costs, poor project prioritization, poor budgeting process, and other manipulations of procurement and contract award processes”.

He expressed worries that “13 years after the Public Procurement Act was passed and signed into law, the National Council on Public Procurement has not been constituted thus contravening section 1 of the Public Procurement Act”.

He worried that “the constitutional functions of the National Council on Public Procurement have been taken over by the Federal Executive Council”, as he said that he was “saddened that the absence of the National Council on Public Procurement, has weakened public engagement and involvement in the procurement process being the focal point of corruption in the public service. It has also eroded and relegated to the background its core function of regulating the activities of the Bureau of Public Procurement responsible for monitoring and over-sighting public procurement and harmonization of existing government policies and practices”.

He said he was “devastated that the Bureau of Public Procurement as is presently constituted is illegal and was done in flagrant disobedience to the provisions of the Public Procurement Act. Specifically, Section 2 (c) of the enabling Act states that the National Council on Public Procurement shall have the powers to appoint Directors of the Bureau for Public Procurement. Also, section 5 (3) states that the Bureau shall formulate the general policies and guidelines relating to public sector procurement for the approval of the Council. The absence of a substantive Council has made these very important functions to be at the behest of the F ederal Executive Council”.

He said he expressed optimism that “the National Council on Public Procurement which will be made up of men and women of proven integrity, will ensure due process in the award of contracts, eliminate corrupt practices in the procurement process”.

He said he was” hopeful that a properly constituted and inaugurated National Council on Public Procurement will further strengthen and institutionalize the fight against corruption which has become a recurring decimal to the development of Nigeria”.

The House adopted his motion in its entirety, mandating the Federal Government to, as a matter of urgency set up the National Council on Public Procurement (NCPP) to actively coordinate the activities of the Bureau of Public Procurement and give full effect to the Act.

The House, also mandated “the Federal Government to immediately dissolve the existing composition of the Bureau of Public Procurement as it was not properly constituted”.

It also mandated “the House Committee on Public Procurement to liaise with the Federal Government to ensure compliance and report to the House within two weeks”.

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